76ers aren’t very good “Brand” right now
It’s not time to hit the panic button, but the 76ers aren’t a good basketball team right now.
In attendance Tuesday night, I watched a team that looks disjointed – except when they’re out running and gunning.
The Jazz beat Philly 93-80 in a contest that was a yawner except for the 76ers’ exciting third-quarter run when they outscored Utah 30-14.
The loss dropped the 76ers to 2-5, while the Jazz improved to 6-1.
So, what’s the problem?
There’s been a lot of talk around town about how the team has had trouble in the early going with spacing around newly acquired Elton Brand, something assistant coach Jimmy Lynam addressed on the pregame radio show.
Lynam said it was something the Sixers worked on entering the Utah game, adding that the team also wanted to work on its “pacing,” i.e. pushing the tempo more.
That’s what they did in the third quarter when they made the run, with Andre Miller (25 points, 6 assists) leading the charge.
The spacing seemed fine Tuesday, but the Sixers – despite benefiting from many easy baskets – shot just 38 percent from the field, including 22 percent (2-for-9) from the arc.
So, shooting is one problem.
It seems to me that Brand may be another problem.
I know he averages a double-double (20.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg) for his career, but I’m not sure if he’s the right fit for the exciting run-and-gun style that carried the Sixers into the playoffs last season.
Based on Tuesday, Brand seems most content working at the elbows and settling for 10-to-15-footers, and not banging down low, like, say, Carlos Boozer of the Jazz. And he doesn’t have the speed to run with the Iguodalas, Williamses, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, Brand’s a very good player and the Sixers’ early struggles certainly don’t fall all on his shoulders. And it’s not his fault if it turns out he’s not the right fit; he’s just playing the way he knows how.
But my eyes Tuesday night say that Brand is miscast on a team of young players who want to run.
Gotta read Mark Kram’s piece on Lenny Dykstra in Tuesday’s Daily News. Dykstra tells Kram: “I was born to make money.” It was similar to the recent HBO piece on Dykstra, but still good nonetheless.
76ers at Toronto, 7 p.m.