Nobody in Philadelphia expects a championship in 2012-2013, that’s one thing the Sixers have going for them. But did you expect the 7-6 to be Lottery bound in 2013? Sports articles rarely talk about the reality of situations and often boast about the “best case scenario” when that scenario is based on fantasy, rather then the facts of the situation. This is NOT one of those articles.
The 7-6 won 35 games this past season. It will be a struggle to win 35 games next year in what will be an 82 game season. The Sixers have essentially ruined the franchise for the next 5 years by their actions this off-season. There are so many good sources of basketball stats on the Internet. While many of my points are generalized a few minutes looking through basketball reference, court vision analytics, basketball value, 82games, wages of wins, the NBA geek and other stat based websites. All the arguments made below are facts or historically relevant information and not influenced by cognitive bias and other things that betray humans when we make assumptions about players and coaches based on the “eye test”
After the jump, I will review the mistakes by timeline that the 76ers’ front office made this off-season:
#1) Not firing Doug Collins or completely removing him from any basketball related decisions
Doug Collins is not a good basketball coach. People can say “Doug Collins is a good coach” until the cows come home, that won’t make it true. Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young were both underplayed by a combined 9 minutes per game. Jrue Holiday was overplayed by about 9 minutes per game. If those minutes were properly distributed the Sixers likely win an extra 5+ games this year. Minutes wise everything else was where it should be, it just happens that 2 of our most effective players had their minutes taken by a guy they were both way more valuable then.
Doug Collins is old and doesn’t understand statistics. That is a major problem considering everyday the stats behind basketball are getting better and painting a clearer picture of what it is that makes winning basketball. There is a reason Jodie Meeks sat on the bench in the playoffs while Evan Turner played 38mpg, shot 33% had more turnovers than assists and was historically awful. It’s because Doug Collins doesn’t understand how to put the statistics behind fundamentally sound basketball into on court production
“We don’t feel like contested two-point field goals will beat you. At the end of the day, you’ll get beat in the paint, you’ll get beat with fast breaks and you’ll get beat behind the three-point line, but we just don’t feel like teams are going to beat you making contested two-point shots.” – Doug Collins, Head Coach, Philadelphia 76ers
Our 76ers took the most mid-range jumpers and least amount of Free Throws in the NBA this past season. Add that in to being 25th in 3PAs per game while being the 8th best 3pt shooting team (.362%). It’s one thing to know what to do, it’s another to implement that onto the court. Doug Collins is not able to properly coach an NBA team on offense.
Now let’s get to defense. When you never turn the ball over on offense and have the 2nd best wing defender in the League on your team, you are going to have an average defense. Add in a skilled defensive PF/C in Brand, a group of underrated defenders which is literally everyone on the team not named Andre Iguodala and you have the makings of a very good defense. Meeks and Williams are actually average NBA defenders and they were considered the worst defenders on the team. Everyone on the team can run, so transition D is never a problem. There is a reason that the defense is good, because the guys tried hard and Dre is a mega-elite defender. Having a mega-elite wing defender makes the team defense a lot better and easier on the other 4 guys. If you don’t believe, go look at some of Lebron’s Cleveland teams.
#2) Drafting Arnett Moultrie
Since 1998-1999, 54 players have had seasons where they averaged 10+ rebounds, less than 1 block and less that 1 steal per game. Quentin Richardson and Reggie Evans are the only 2 guys who have become NBA players. Q-Rich was a McDonald’s All-American and C-USA player of the year as a freshman when he averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds. Reggie Evans transferred from a JUCO school to Iowa and proceeded to average 15 pts. and 12 rebounds, Evans led the NCAA in rebounds and free throw attempts per game (9.9) that season.
Moultrie has no business being compared to Q-Rich and realistically has no business being compared to Reggie Evans either. Evans has put up some historically great rebounding numbers in the NBA which wasn’t expected by anyone even though Evans was a voracious college rebounder.
Since 2009-2010, 82 college players averaged 35+ minutes per game and averaged under 1 block and steal per game. Only Brandon Knight, who was the 6th ranked HS prospect in the country and 8th overall pick after his freshman season, has become an NBA player or was even a 1st round pick. History dictates that Arnett Moultrie will have a great career in Poland. And for that the Sixers gave up a 1st round pick. While it’s 99.99% likely that the Sixers are in the Lottery next season, the .01 chance Philly makes the playoffs means that the 15th pick in 2013 was traded for the 27th pick in 2012. That is not winning, according to Charlie Sheen or anyone but the possibly the Tin Man.
#3) Not Trading Kyle Lowry for Jrue Holiday
Kyle Lowry is an upgrade over Holiday in every way except age. Lowry is owed $12 million the next 2 years while Jrue will be a restricted free agent after this season. The Sixers wouldn’t take Gary Forbes and a future lottery pick for Jrue Holiday. That is what Houston got for Lowry. Getting a Top 10 NBA point guard in Lowry and the addition of Jonas Valuncianus will likely result in the Lottery pick being in the 10-14 area, making that a much less valuable asset than Jrue Holiday. Even if Philadelphia had to trade Holiday and the 15th pick for Kyle Lowry, that would have been a positive trade for the Sixers. In case anyone is wondering Jrue Holiday, Sam Dalembert, Kevin Martin, Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, Chandler Parsons, Chase Budinger plus the 14th, 15th, 16th pick would of been enough to get Dwight Howard + Ryan Anderson + Hedo from Orlando.
#4) Not Re-signing Lou Williams
Lou Williams was elite on offense this past season. His combination of TS%, USG, TO%, AST% and FT rate was historically great. Basically, he scored efficiently, passed the ball, got the line and didn’t turn it over in a way that’s never been done before in the history of the NBA. There is crazy value in that. It seems that Atlanta signed him to a 4 year 20 million dollar deal. He would have stayed in Philadelphia if he was offered a 3yr 20 million dollar deal. If Philadelphia only wanted to sign him to a 1 year deal, the front office would have been perfectly justified to offer a 1 yr 12 million dollar deal.
#5) Signing Nick Young / Not Re-Signing Jodie Meeks / Trading for Dorell Wright (Who is better than Nick Young in every way.)
There is a reason after Nick Young’s best statistical season that he took his $3.7 million dollar qualifying offer from the Wizards. In Nick Young’s own words “he was gonna make the league pay for not offering him the money he deserved”. Unfortunately, for Philadelphia we are the team paying. After regressing in every way imaginable in this past season, our front office gave him 6 million dollars, which is a 2.3 million dollar raise compared to what he made in 2011-2012. Nick Young is worth the league minimum. Speaking of the League minimum, it’s highly unlikely Jodie Meeks gets paid more than that (which is absurd value). Jodie Meeks is better than Nick Young. He is more efficient on offense and a better defender. The same can be said for Dorell Wright. Instead of having Jodie Meeks and Dorell Wright for 5 million, the 76ers now have Nick Young and Dorell Wright for $10 million.
#6) Amnestying Elton Brand
Elton Brand was one of the 40 most valuable players this past season. He shot nearly 50% from the field, averaged 7+ rebounds a game,while having a 4:1 ratio of Assists+Steals+Blocks : Turnovers, while often defending the opposing teams best post player. That is an extremely valuable skill set. Yes, he is overpaid but Brand was an expiring contract. There is a lot of value in a big expiring contract, especially for a team like that Sixers that could use get a lot of talent back for Brand’s 18.2 million. For example, the Clippers might offer DeAndre Jordan + Lamar Odom (expiring) + 2013 1st rd pick for Brand, so they can make a run at Dwight Howard or Bynum in free agency in the 2013 off season. That would give the Sixers a starting center for the next few years and keep cap space to make a run at an all star type PF in 2013. Worse case scenario, Philly keeps Brand and he plays the season out before leaving in free agency to play for a contender.
#7) Resigning Spencer Hawes to a 2-year deal
In a vacuum, this was a decent signing by the front office. Hawes is better than he is given credit for and won’t be at his peak as a player age 27-30. Hawes turned 24 back in late April. 4 years from now he will likely be at his peak as a player and the NBA playoffs will be starting. If the 7-6 thought he was worth 2 years 13 million, he is certainly worth a 4 year 30 million dollar deal that goes 6,7,8,9 with the last year being a team option. The only redeeming factor in this trade is that a 2 year 13 million dollar deal is great value for a player like Spencer Hawes. What’s crazy is Philadelphia’s front office values Nick Young the same (and apparently OJ Mayo less) as they do Spencer Hawes as a player next season.
#8) Not Hiring Stan Van Gundy or Jeff Van Gundy
There is a reason SVH or JVG aren’t the coach of this team. It’s because the front office tried to tell them of their off-season plans but the brothers hung up when “nick young and 6 million dollars” managed to end up in the same sentence.
#9) Kwame Brown
A 31 year old who has always been terrible and is coming off a major upper body injury. For you…2-years and $6 million.
This is the 2012-2013 Philadelphia 76ers’ roster:
In conclusion, at least we are bringing back Malik Rose.