INTERIOR ISSUES

Posted by: Michael Kaskey-Blomain
07/23/12 12:48 pm EST

There are several unresolved issues surrounding our 2012-2013 Sixers as they are currently constructed.  Sure they added some athleticism in Harkless and Moultrie, and shored up the perimeter shooting with the additions of Dorell Wright and the hot-handed Nick Young, but the interior personnel is still an enormous problem.  The Sixers did not have the most formidable frontcourt last season, and by dropping Brand, their most consistent post player on both ends of the floor, they have only moved backwards.  The combination of Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen, Nik Vucevic, and the recently-acquired Kwame Brown, may be one of the slowest and least skilled front-lines in the League, leaving the Sixers extremely vulnerable, especially on the defensive end. 

If the team doesn’t shake things up perhaps by moving current Olympian Andre Iguodala for some inside support this off-season, which appears less likely with each passing day, it seems that Sixer fans can look forward to the least inspiring starting frontline of all time in starters Hawes and Kwame Brown.  This dynamic duo lacks both the speed and strength necessary to compete with most of the League at large, let alone the elite teams.  Picturing these two getting consistently posterized is just painful. 

 

Teams with physical and skilled front-courts such as Chicago or Indiana will simply overpower the Sixers in the paint.  Spence, despite his size, has little strength and is not built to bang with the League’s larger, more physical post players.  Lavoy, while stronger and better built is somewhat undersized and too slow to be expected to continuously contain explosive forwards such as Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire.  While both Spencer and Lavoy are serviceable bigs in certain situations, neither owns a game changing skill set or is necessarily deserving of starter’s minutes.  Lavoy was a reserve/role player last year and it’s possible that is where he is best suited.  Coach Collins could certainly be stretching Allen’s skill set  if he is promoted to starter.  Hawes shows flashes, and could be a nice piece if he were to split time with another equally talented center, but having him as the only center on the roster, aside from the ever under-achieving Kwame Brown, is far from ideal.

It doesn’t get much better with Kwame and Vucevic as neither are known for their defensive prowess.  Brown is a decent defender at best and “Big Nik’s” defensive game is a work in progress.  Elton Brand, although aging, at least supplied the Sixers with some interior toughness and shot blocking ability.  With the current batch of bigs the Sixers can look forward to a long season of being pulverized in the paint.

Defensive difficulties aren’t the only areas where the Sixer bigs will struggle this season.  No one on the roster is an above average rebounder.  Spencer led the team with a pedestrian seven boards per night last season.  Elton Brand, despite his limited mobility, brought toughness to the glass and was an underrated offensive rebounder last season.  His production and consistency in this area will be missed.  The Sixers were a solid rebounding team last year, seventh overall in the Association, but unfortunately this off-season it seems as though they may have regressed in this area.

The lack of size and strength in the frontcourt will strongly effect the Sixers on the offensive end as well.  No one in this batch of bigs is known for their point production.  Not one of these players have ever been a go-to guy, and their combined inability to create their own scoring opportunities will drastically hurt the Sixers throughout the season by placing too much of the scoring duty on the perimeter players.

While the Sixers have added some athleticism this offseason, it is safe to say that the failure to add a formidable frontcourt piece will haunt them throughout the 2012-13 season. 

Wait, that sounds a lot like 2011-12.


 
 
 

4 Responses to “INTERIOR ISSUES”

  1. Steve Toll
    23. July 2012 at 15:21

    Hawes 6’10.5 without shoes
    Vucevic 6,10.25 without shoes
    Kwame Brown 6’10 without shoes
    Arnett Moultrie 6’9.5 without shoes

    All these guys also weigh in excess of 255lbs except Moultrie who weighs 230lbs

    Lavoy Allen doesn’t have a listed height but he is likely 6’7-6’8 without shoes and 215lbs

    While I don’t like the Kwame Brown signing, he actually is useful rebounding 22 minutes a night. He has the same career rebound % numbers as Roy Hibbert. In 2010-2011 Kwame was the 55th best rebounder in the NBA on a per minute basis

    On a per minute level, Vucevic was the 25th best rebounder in the NBA last season, Spencer Hawes was 31st and Lavoy Allen 42nd

    Size and Rebounding are not the problem. Youth is the problem.  

    Our front court will grab rebounds, putting it in the basket and stopping others from doing so that will be the problem.
    Hawes 24, Allen 23, Vucevic 21, Moultrie 22 are all at least another presidential election away from being at their peak as players. Bigs usually improve until 27-30 and then plateau followed by a decline

    In regards to Iguodala, except for a Iggy+Holiday for Westbrook + Perry jones trade (which can’t happen until January 15th) or a Iguodala+Hawes+Holiday for Bynum and McBob, it’s impossible to get equal value for Iguodala

    Except for the above, a contender can’t trade for Iggy without giving up major pieces. A rebuilding team isn’t going to give up youth for a guy who will be a 1 year rental. I say 1 year rental because Iguodala will be opting out after this upcoming season and signing a deal around 4yrs 50 million

  2. Steve Toll
    23. July 2012 at 22:08

    Mark Cuban was recently on NBATV watching the Dal-NO summer league game. He came into the booth do talk about the Mavericks offseason. This is a direct quote

    “We do a lot of advanced statistics and analytics. Brand was a top 10 defender in the league in the post and top 10 in +/-“

  3. Richard
    24. July 2012 at 13:54

    “Teams with physical & skilled frontcourts”? Chicago? Other than Noah & Taj Gibson, who by the way aren’t exactly David Robinson & Tim Duncan, Chicago doesn’t impress. Boozer’s done, Asik’s gone. Really other than the Lakers & possibly the Knicks (a big if by the way) no one has a highly physical & skilled frontcourt. Miami & Boston were in the conference finals & their only frontcourt presences were an aging, albeit rejuvenated K.G. and Chris Bosh. Skilled but not exactly physical. And “larger” post players than Spence (7’1″ 250)? Like who? Hibbert and Howard are the only ones who could be considered bigger than Hawes in the east. Hawes & Allen will be the starters up front and will provide adequate rebounding. Hawes and Nic can both score as well as if not better than 90% of the centers in the league and Moultrie can add some athleticism to the rotation on occasion. The frontcourt is fine. If the big 3 (Iggy, Turner & Jrue) take the next step and become what we all hope they will, the bigs will be more than good enough to win 50 games and challenge for the 2 or 3 seed in the east. Stay tuned…

  4. Sean
    25. July 2012 at 08:16

    Brand will definitely be missed. But, keep in mind Collins called on Allen’s numbers at crucial situations instead of Brand’s against Boston. So, between Allen and Brown, I think we have Brand’s defense convered, then some, since Brown is bigger and taller and will match up OK against big centers.

    Also, NBA is about 75% pick-and-roll and 25% post for big guys. We have Thad Young who is great at defending the pick-and-roll. He just has problems guarding the post because he’s only 6’6″. I say go Olympics style and start Thad at PF next to Brown to accentuate our strength (speed, athleticism). The bench will be fine with Wright, Nick Young, and Hawes, as well as Turner as the PG for the 2nd unit.

    Thad will play 30 min a game anyways, so starting isn’t that important… But when the alternative is Hawes and Brown… I would much prefer starting Thad and Brown instead. What’s the downside?

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