WOW, as if the 76ers two L’s over the weekend weren’t enough pain and suffering, yesterday the Sixers broke the news via Twitter that Marreese Speights will be out until January with a partially torn MCL in his left knee. The basketball gods really don’t like us here in Philadunkia nation as they just robbed us of the one bright spot for the Sixers so far in 2009-10. Speights has truly been a joy to watch on the offensive end of the floor and has really been the only reason to tune in and watch the Sixers this year.
One thing is for sure, with Speights out of the lineup a couple of looming questions about the 2009-10 Sixers are about the get answered in the very near future.
Here are couple of questions we have about the home team that will get answered quickly with Mo Speights on the sideline for the next 6-8 weeks:
1) How much game does Elton Brand have left? : Obviously Brand’s lack of minutes, specifically in the 4th quarter has been a source of controversy recently for the Sixers. The bulk of Brand’s disappearing minutes have gone to Speights. Well with Speights now out of the lineup, it would seem to make basketball sense that Brand is going to get the majority of Speights’ minutes and thus a chance to play more tick overall, but especially more fourth quarter minutes which is what he has been looking for each game. So we’re going to discover quickly if our $80million power forward has anything left in the tank.
2) Is Jason Smith for real or all hype? : This past summer, the Jason Smith is a legit player hype reached an all-time high. We had heard the same buzz from the Sixers front office before his knee injury. According to his cheerleaders at that time, Smith could play a little and had tremendous upside. Although we saw little evidence of it. When he was out injured in 2008-09, the Sixers front office acted and talked as if his absence was a huge blow to the Sixers lineup. This summer as Smith was getting closer to 100% and returning to the Sixers roster, words of his outstanding work in practice, his nice game in general and the important role he would have in 2009-10 were uttered daily down at the Sixers practice facility. There’s no doubt that so far in 2009-10 Smith has shown flashes of really being able to contribute to this team, but a lack of minutes and touches have left a significant amount of doubt in our minds as to just how good Smith really can be for the Sixers. Now we’re going to find out just how good Smith is / will be, as it seems to make sense that he would also be the recipient of some of Speights’ minutes.
3) Can Samuel Dalembert really be an offensive threat for the 2009-10 Sixers? : Again coming out of training camp, Eddie Jordan and others were very quick to talk about how well Sammy D was playing in the Princeton offense. According to those in attendance at the preseason and early regular season practices, Sammy was getting good looks at the hoop and making nice passes as well in the new P’ton system. Sammy has always claimed that he deserves a bigger role in the offense, so these quotes must have made him very happy. For our money Sammy is at his best when he concentrates on rebounding and blocking shots and when he gets his points through garbage buckets. The fact that the Sixers version of the Princeton offense would run through Sam is befuddling to us. Well with Speights out of the lineup, Sam gets his chance to prove us wrong as #1 should also be a recipient of some of Speights’ minutes and touches. Time to put up or shut up, Sam. Just for the record, we hope he proves us wrong.
4) Is Primoz Brezec worth the paper his contract is printed on? : When Stefanski signed Primoz near the end of this past off-season, numerous “experts” felt it was a good move for the Sixers, especially given that Eddie Jordan was installing the Princeton offense in Philly. At the time we could see that angle to his signing, as Primoz is a pass first European big man who also has a sweet shot. So as the fifth big on the Sixers roster, if he could contribute even just a little from time to time in 2009-10, his signing would have been a worth while move. However, Primoz has hardly even seen the court for the Sixers in 2009-10. In fact he’s spent more time in street clothes then in a uniform. To his credit Primoz has been a good soldier and has yet to complain about his lack of run. Well with Speights now out of the lineup until early 2010, Primoz gets a chance to prove his worth. Jordan has maintained a rotation of four bigs so far this season and there’s no reason to think he will change that pattern, so Primoz should finally see some decent minutes for the Sixers. Look we’re not asking for much here from Primoz. With your new found burn, just grab a rebound or two, make a couple nice passes and maybe hit a some FTs while either Brand, Smith or Sammy D catch a breather. That should NOT be a hard role to fill for a player who has averaged 7 points and 4.5 boards per game over his NBA career, right?