Sixers need changes — and fast
Maybe only the turkeys had a worse weekend than the 76ers.
After being routed by Boston, 102-78, Friday night, the Sixers were spanked at home by the Bulls, 103-92, Sunday night. It was their fourth straight loss, dropping them to 7-10.
I only caught the highlights Sunday, so I can only write based on what I saw, read and the box score. I’ve been to four games this season, though, and Sunday’s loss seemed similar to what has plagued this team for much of the season.
Now, not later, is the time for Mo Cheeks to start making some major changes. Ed Stefanski, too.
The parts just aren’t right with the Sixers. Elton Brand is a very good player who just doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the mix. Andre Iguodala has been most hurt by Brand, his scoring average dipping from 19.9 last season to 13.3 through 17 games this year.
The Sixers can play well on offense in spurts, but lack the sort of consistency that results in wins.
They don’t defend very well, especially from the perimeter, and don’t shoot it well from the arc, either. A bad combination. Sunday’s loss to the Bulls was an example: Chicago was 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) from long distance, while the Sixers were 5-for-13 (38.5) from the arc.
So, what can be done? Maybe nothing until the offseason.
But here’s what I’d try right now…
Go small more: I know Brand is making all that money, but let’s see what the Sixers can do without him in the lineup more. Brand is having a solid statistical year, entering Sunday averaging nearly a double-double (16.9 points, 9.9 boards), but he’s a liability to the fastbreak offense that carried the Sixers into the playoffs last year. I like Thaddeus Young and Marresse Speights. Put them on the floor with Iguodala, Andre Miller and Lou Williams. Brand is averaging 35.6 minutes per game. I say cut him back to between 27-to-30 minutes and see what a small, quick lineup can do.
More Reggie Evans less Sam Dalembert: Evans is an offensive liability, but I like his energy and he rebounds the heck out of the ball. Dalembert put up another clunker Sunday night with 4 points and 4 boards in 15 minutes. That’s 16 points and 22 boards in his last 4 games – all losses. Not good enough.
Find a shooter for your half-court offense: Brand draws a double-team in the post, something the Sixers have lacked for years. Problem is you need players who can hit the shot when Brand finds them wide-open. The Sixers are sorely lacking with perimeter shooters. I’d give Donyell Marshall and his 35 percent career 3-point percentage a look, and find more minutes for Kareem Rush. A career 36 percent shooter from the arc, Rush was brought in for his shooting from long range. Well, now it’s time to find out if he can do it. He’s made 6 of 17 from 3 this year. Not great options, I know, but something needs to be done.
Maybe these moves will help, maybe they won’t…but Cheeks has to try something to get the Sixers out of this rut. The problem probably is deeper than any of these changes and can’t be addressed until the offseason, but you can’t sit and wait until then.
And Cheeks needs to move fast because the Sixers are entering a brutal six-game stretch, beginning Tuesday at Chicago. After playing the Bulls (8-9), the Sixers’ next five opponents are a combined 61-20 (75.3 percent).
Your thoughts on changes?
Cal St Northridge at Drexel, 7
(Update 5 p.m. Monday)
Arbitration for Burrell, Moyer? A story on the Phillies’ Web site says the team is likely to offer Pat Burrell and Jamie Moyer arbitration by the midnight deadline tonight. However,
GM Ruben Amaro was noncommittal on Moyer in a radio interview with Howard Eskin on WIP about an hour ago. In fact, reading between the lines it sounded to me like the Phils wouldn’t offer Moyer arbitration.
My take: I believe the teams wants to sign Moyer, but at a price less than what the might have to pay through arbitration. Stay tuned.