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Old 12-21-2016, 01:50 PM   #16
Double Dragon
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 3,566
As far as I know, Ben Simmons is still slated to come back in January, looking forward to seeing him and how he does. Think he's not going to be a point guard per say, from what I've heard he'll be bringing the ball up the floor on offense but defending the 4 on defense. All I know is that now that everyone is getting back to good health for the Sixers, we clearly have way too many big men. Joel Embiid is a must-keep at center. He's exceeded even the loftiest expectations of him. Still has that 28 minute per game limit but his per 100 possession numbers are literally unprecedented. The Sixers rate as the best defensive team in the league with him on the floor and without him, they rate as the first. He's the franchise, the future.

Then you have Noel and Okafor. The team is making the decision to bench Noel for the most part and give minutes to Okafor, having him even start alongside Embiid. I don't like this decision one bit. Okafor needs to play center, he can't space the floor at all. Embiid can shoot from the outside, but I don't want him at the 4, he's too much of a rim protector on defense and the best part of his game is in the post on offense. Having him and Okafor on the floor at the same time just clogs the lane and creates spacing issues. Plus Okafor is a liability on defense, and doesn't pass the ball from the post nearly as well as Embiid does. I thought Noel has proven over the past few years that he's a plus defender that could use some work on the offensive end. I think I'd rather have a defensive specialist than a guy who can score but can't play defense.

I think the point is that we need to trade either Okafor or Noel, and maybe both. I'd rather get rid of Okafor personally, but as long as we get rid of one of them for some assets I'll be happy. Because if we start two of them at the same time, what happens with Saric? Do we move him down to the 3? Ilyasova (who's impressed me by the way) is already eating into Saric's minutes, and once Simmons comes around he may even see less playing time due to Simmons' size. I like what I've seen from Saric so far, I just wish he got to see the floor more often at power forward. He can do everything pretty well but moving him down to small forward (which is not his best position) doesn't seem like a long-term solution to me. The rest of the league is going smaller and we seem to be getting bigger. Once Simmons comes back, if our starting lineup is Simmons-Stauskas/Covington-Saric-Embiid-Okafor we'll have four guys in the starting lineup that are 6'10" or taller.

I could write much, much more about the Sixers but the biggest issue with the team right now is addressing the logjam in the frontcourt. Once we solve that we can work on our guard situation. Hoping to have multiple picks in the lottery (with a really deep draft this year!) so we can figure that out. We'll have our own pick, then hopefully the Lakers pick comes through to us. It's only top three protected, and I don't think the Lakers are one of the three worst teams in the league. Maybe bottom five but not bottom three.

Around the league:
Holy balls this team is scary when firing on all cylinders. I mean we knew they would be and they won't touch their record of 73-9 from last year (probably) but wow. That huge game they had against the Clippers that was supposed to be close but was laughable really indicates to me that this year's peak Warriors could even surpass last year's peak Warriors. Because think about it, in their "lineup of death" they replaced Harrison Barnes with Kevin Durant. That's a huuuuuge upgrade. The depth isn't there like it was last season, with Bogut, Barbosa, Speights, and maybe others (can't exactly remember) gone, but Javale McGee has really surprised me as a contributor, so there isn't quite the dropoff from their starting lineup that I had expected.

Westbrook is this entire team. It's nuts to me that we may actually see someone average a triple double for the whole season for the first time since Oscar Robertson. But he doesn't really have much around him. I think the Sixers robbed the Thunder in the Jerami Grant/Ersan Ilyasova trade. Sixers got a better player (another power forward lol) and draft picks for Jerami Grant, who's an emphatic dunker but not much else. The Thunder don't really have the shooting to keep up with the top teams in the league IMO, so Westbrook has to put the team on his back night in and night out. Despite his gaudy stats though, I don't think anyone deserves MVP for singlehandedly leading their team to a middle of the conference finish.

I mean duh, we knew they'd be first place in the East at this point just like we knew the Warriors we knew the Warriors would be first place in the West. Between Lebron and Kyrie (and Kevin Love every now and then!) they're just too much on offense. Add in solid role players and I can only see the Raptors contesting them in the East. Poor JR Smith though, out a few weeks. By playoff time they should probably be good to take down anyone, and meet the Warriors for episode three.

Why aren't these guys better? Sometimes you'll watch the Bucks and think they look like the best team in basketball. But they're .500 right now. I'm such a huge fan of Point Giannis and their entire lineup really. I just don't understand why they don't win more games. I think they have potential to be the fourth best team in the East right now, behind the Cavs, Raptors, and Celtics. Most disappointing team for me, I think.

Point guard James Harden is actually pretty nutty. I'm surprised it works so well. Definitely thought Harden was too much of a shoot first ask questions later kind of guy to handle the point but it's really worked out for them.

As far as awards go, Joel Embiid for everything. Okay probably just Rookie of the Year. But still. The dude's been incredible. I love him so much.
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