Tag:Philadelphia 76ers
Posted on: September 10, 2010 11:43 am
Edited on: September 10, 2010 11:44 am
 

Pop Quiz: Who's the Rookie of the Year favorite?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Who is winning Rookie of the Year? John Wall, Blake Griffin or someone else?

There's the Madden Curse, the Curse of the Billy Goat and the the Curse of the Sacred Buffalo. And for the past couple years, there's been the Curse of the No. 1 Overall Pick.

Of course there's Greg Oden who missed his entire 2007-08 rookie season because of microfracture surgery on his knee. Derrick Rose escaped and had a nice 2008-09 rookie campaign, but then Blake Griffin fractured his patella and sat out all of 2009-10.

Maybe it's a trend. Or maybe like the other "curses," it's just a combination of coincidence and bad luck.

But not often do you have a season with two No. 1 overall picks playing their rookie seasons together. John Wall and Blake Griffin are the last two top picks in the NBA and they are both entering their official rookie seasons. Griffin was the clear-cut favorite for Rookie of the Year last season before he got hurt, but his injury opened the door for Tyreke Evans to snatch the award. But with how electric Evans was last season, who knows, he might've won the award anyway.

So coming into 2010-11, we have two obvious favorites. But will one of them win it? If so, which one? Or if not, who else could slip in and grab the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy? Here are the favorites and then two sleepers:

THE FAVORITES

Blake Griffin, Clippers - It's easy to forget what a freak of nature Griffin is. It's easy to forget his non-stop motor, his talent, his ridiculous ability and his awesome athleticism. He sat out last season so it's easy to forget that he was pretty much a consistent 20-20 threat at the University of Oklahoma and that he averaged almost 30 points and 15 rebounds in the NCAA tournament. It's easy to forget that he was the most dominant college big man since Tim Duncan.

But he's healthy and he's hungry. Those are two very, very scary things for those that dare challenge him head-to-head. Griffin has an other-worldly work ethic and he's spent the last 15 months waiting to get a crack at the NBA. He's ready to go and the Clippers need his services. He'll get big minutes and he'll likely put up big numbers.

John Wall, Wizards
- In terms of pure flash, skill and NBA talent, it's hard to top John Wall. He just has some sort of allure to him that makes him must-see. And that sort of thing goes a long way in determining Rookie of the Year. Wall has "it," whatever "it" is.

He's going to struggle some though, especially early on. He's being put in charge of a fairly bad Wizards team from the get-go. He's going to have to manage being a scorer and a distributor, something really good point guards don't figure out most times until their third year. He will struggle at times. He'll turn the ball over. He'll miss open shots. And he'll likely get frustrated. But Wall will have flashy games, good numbers and most of all, that Derrick Rose like draw that just makes him fun to watch.

DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
- A lot of really smart analysts agreed in June, DeMarcus Cousins was the most talented overall player in the draft. He's the most NBA ready player and most capable of stepping on the floor and contributing this second.

But for Cousins, it was a between-the-ears thing.

Assuming his head is on straight and he's focused, Cousins is an absolute force on the post. In the first three games of Vegas summer league, he was nearly unguardable. He was a walking double-double. But then he got tired, lost interest and his numbers dipped severely. If we see the good Cousins consistently, he's a legit contender. If he wavers, he might not even make an All-Rookie team.

Evan Turner, 76ers - During summer league, Turner looked lost. He looked confused. He looked as if he wasn't sure of himself, his abilities or how he was supposed to fit in.

But remember, summer league.

Turner nearly averaged a triple-double at Ohio State last season. His issue will be something he doesn't really control. New 76ers coach Doug Collins will have to figure out where he's supposed to play. Is it point? At the 2? At the 3? Once that gets settled and Turner fits into his role, he should be a guy that finishes with quality numbers on a team that likely won't be very good.

Greg Monroe, Pistons - Maybe Monroe would be better suited in the "sleeper" category. He was drafted seventh overall and isn't set up to garner a ton of attention or playing time early on in Detroit.

But Monroe's skills are unignorable. He passing beautifully out of the post, has terrific footwork and rebounds better than people give him credit for. Right now, he's a little low on the depth chart, but the Pistons are likely planning on moving some pieces around. So Monroe will probably get plenty of playing time in a rebuilding situation.

TWO DARK HORSES
Patrick Patterson, Rockets - Daryl Morey traded Carl Landry away to Sacramento last season at the deadline. And he replaced him with, basically another Carl Landry.

Patterson is a machine on the post. He never stops working, never stops fighting. He's pretty much a perfect Houston Rocket at this point. The traditional box score may say he's not great, the measurables may say he's not super talented, but he just gets it done. Given the chance, he might slip in and average quality numbers playing in a bench role for Houston. And if so, he might also slip into the ROY discussion.

James Anderson, Spurs - With the oft-injured and aging Manu Ginobili playing in front of him, James Anderson might be called upon at some point to step up in a big way for the Spurs. And since he plays for San Antonio, obviously Anderson will be up to the task, because that's the just the way the Spurs work.

He was an elite scorer in college that was questioned at the next level because he's not overly athletic and doesn't score at the rim. But does it matter when you can just plain score? He shoots an open 3 beautifully, he gets to the free throw line and he's not a bad defender. If he gets opportunities, he could potentially average double-digits and play a big role in keeping the Spurs going. And that might be enough to at least get him in the conversation.

THE PICK
This is a weird year. On one hand, there are the obvious favorites as in, two No. 1 overall picks. But on the other, it's a wide open race because there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding those guys. Can Wall settle in with Washington? Is Griffin completely healthy? How good is DeMarcus Cousins and can he jump other candidates?

After Blake Griffin's injury last season, the ROY race opened up completely. Basically everyone had a shot. This season, it's pretty much a two-man showdown, with a couple dark horses hanging around. Writers are just waiting to hand the award to either Wall or Griffin, so in order for someone else to get into the conversation, they'll have to have a big time year.

So it comes down to the two No. 1s. Griffin has the advantage of going through an NBA season already, even if he didn't play. He's had a year of practices, a year of meetings, a year of travel. And most importantly, a year away from home in a big city with a lot of money in his pocket. He knows how to handle it. Wall on the other hand, is coming in like a traditional rookie - fresh.

Basically in my mind, it comes down to Griffin's health. If he doesn't sustain anymore injuries and is able to play the bulk of the season, he's going to have seriously good numbers. Probably something in the 17-10 range or maybe even better. He's a statistical machine. Wall will have a nice year no doubt, but Griffin will likely put up numbers that can be ignored. And that's why, in his second rookie year, Blake Griffin gets the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy.
Posted on: August 11, 2010 11:39 pm
 

With Thorn in place, is Stefanski on hot seat?

Posted by Matt Moore

Rod Thorn is definitely retiring. At some point. Maybe. We're pretty sure when he gets to heaven he'll be trading up to get a better cloud.

Less than two months after he was released from the New Jersey Nets organization, Rod Thorn has been hired by the Philadelphia 76ers as team presidents, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and confirmed by our own Ken Berger of CBSSports.com . Ed Stefanski will remain with the 76ers as General Manager. But the question is, for how long?

Stefanski was brought in to replace Billy King, who now ironically is the GM in New Jersey. And as KB writes, Stefanski and Thorn are expected to work side by side:

"Thorn and Stefanski working side-by-side, as they did for several years in New Jersey, makes perfect sense.

Yahoo! Sports first reported Thorn's hiring in Philly, which gives the Sixers -- and Stefanski -- a strong and like-minded voice in a front office that frequently is burdened with the overbearing ownership of Ed Snider and Peter Luukko."

But even as the move seems to indicate at best a reformed power base for Stefanski, and at worst a unified front inside management, there are going to be questions. When Stefanski took over, the Sixers seemed to be headed towards contention with a young core of athletic, versatile players. Instead, they've stalled, then regressed, spiraling into mediocrity last season before being saved by the fortune of a No. 2 overall lottery coup. As a result, several coaches have lost their jobs while Stefanski has remained in place.

Now with the more experienced, higher-profile Thorn in place, tehre will be questions about how much Thorn will be involved in the day-to-day operations of the club, and what role Stefanski finds himself in. Thorn may provide cover for Stefanski, but if Evan Turner doesn't light the league up, or if the assets gained from the trade of Samuel Dalembert's high-value expiring contract don't work out, we may see a move away from Stefanski as the face of the club and towards Thorn.

It has been a very musical-chairs-y day.
Posted on: August 11, 2010 11:04 am
Edited on: August 11, 2010 11:08 am
 

Breaking down the back-to-backs

Posted by Royce Young

Other than the fact that since it's August and we're all starved for NBA news, the schedule release typically doesn't have a ton of surprises. On the surface, all schedules are created equal with everyone having 41 home games and 41 road games. (Unless you're the Lakers and you get a couple extra home games when you go on the "road" to play the Clippers.)

But all schedules are not equal. Not in the slightest actually. Other than some teams getting contenders four times instead of three because of the way the scheduling rotation works and the fact the Clippers have a 10-game road trip (!), there's the issue of back-to-backs. And back-to-backs can take what looks to be an easy month and turn it into a 30-day grind.

The Bulls and Bucks lead the way with 23 back-to-backs. That's a bummer for the Bulls who had one of the highest totals in the league last season. For all you Laker haters, here's some more ammo: The champs only have 15, which is tied for the fewest in the league. The Suns have just 16 and the Thunder and Hawks have only 17.

Six teams have 22, six have 21, two have 20, six have 19 and four have 18. The full list:

1. Chicago - 23
2. Milwauke -  23
3. Charlotte - 22
4. Cleveland - 22
5. LA Clippers - 22
6. New Jersey - 22
7. Philadelphia - 22
8. Portland - 22
9. Detroit - 21
10. Houston - 21
11. Indiana - 21
12. Memphis - 21
13. New York - 21
14. Washington - 21
15. Dallas - 20
16. Orlando - 20
17. Boston - 19
18. Denver - 19
19. Miami - 19
20. Minnesota - 19
21. Toronto - 19
22. Utah - 19
23. Golden State - 18
24. New Orleans - 18
25. Sacramento - 18
26. San Antonio - 18
27. Atlanta - 17
28. Oklahoma City - 17
29. Phoenix - 16
30. LA Lakers - 15

One underrated angle on the back-to-backs is how many games a team gets against a team on the second night of a back-to-back. Phoenix has the most in the league with 15 games against teams that played the night before. The Suns are followed by Cleveland (10), Oklahoma City (10), Atlanta (10) and San Antonio (9).

The Lakers, who have the fewest back-to-backs in the league, only have four games against a team that played the night before. Sacramento has the fewest in the league with only one.

Related to that, the Bucks, Cavs, Celtics, Bobcats, Bulls, Grizzlies and Clippers all have four or more games against a team playing in its fourth game in five days with no rest. The Lakers, Suns, Warriors, Spurs and 76ers have zero such games.
 
And on the flip side of that, the Bobcats, Cavs, Bucks, 76ers and Wizards all have four games that are on the fourth game in five days with no rest. So clearly the league tried to even that out. You get some, you give some. A bunch of teams only have to do that once including the Suns, Thunder, Lakers and Heat.

Based on back-to-backs, days off and playing against unrested opponents, you could make a strong case that Oklahoma City and Phoenix have two of the most favorable schedules in the league. The Lakers, while having the fewest back-to-backs, also have one of the lowest amount of games against unrested opponents.

While the schedule is going to be unfair for some teams because that's just life, it's clear the league tried to even things out. Playing against a team that is coming in off a red eye flight and that played just 20 hours ago is a huge advantage. Probably even more than having a low number of back-to-back games.

But back-to-backs are just part of the schedule story. Who are the back-to-backs against? What about long road trips, days off and long home stands? In the end, it doesn't matter all that much. For the most part, the best teams win and the bad teams lose.

Info pulled from NBAStuffer.com
Posted on: August 10, 2010 3:54 pm
 

Toughest and easiest starts for 2010-11

Posted by Royce Young

The schedule is out so let the analyzation begin. One of the many things to look at any time a schedule is released is the kickoff week. Often times, the first week or two can make or break a season for a team. Get off to a good start, you energize the fanbase, gain some confidence and build a little momentum. Get off to a bad one and the fans think "Here we go again," confidence takes a hit and already people are thinking lottery.

So who has the easiest go of it in the opening weeks? And who got the toughest draw?

Easiest Starts
Cleveland: Maybe the league was taking pity on the Cavs who had a rough offseason but Cleveland gets a favorable start. The Cavs kick off with a home game against Boston, but then other than a game against Atlanta, nine straight games against lottery teams, including Washington, New Jersey (twice) and Philadelphia.

Los Angeles Lakers: The champs get a favorable start as 7 of their first 10 are at home with the road games being against Phoenix, Sacramento and Denver. Most of the games are against sub-.500 teams from last season with only a couple against quality squads (Portland, Houston, Memphis). It should be another good beginning in Lakerland en route to defending the crown.

Orlando: The NBA hands a gift to the Magic who get to open a new arena with a batch of home games. It gets tougher for the Magic later down the line, but to start the season, Orlando gets 8 of its first 12 at home, with most of the tough games coming into the new Amway Center. The drawback is a couple back-to-backs but no set is against two contending teams.

Toughest Starts
Philadelphia:
Any time you're breaking in the second overall pick you'd love to get a group of games against teams that he might be able to build confidence against. Evan Turner gets his first game against the Heat and then Atlanta. The schedule lightens a bit with tilts against Indiana, Washington, Indiana again and Cleveland, but then the Sixers face a tough five-game road trip including games at San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Dallas. Then a few weeks later in December, the 76ers have a six-game roadie against quality teams (Orlando, Boston, Chicago, Phoenix, Lakers, Denver, Golden State).

Memphis: Considering the Grizzlies start with five of their first seven on the road and then have home games Phoenix, Dallas and Boston, I'd say they qualify in the tough start category. Their road trip isn't brutal by any means (Lakers, Warriors, Suns, Kings) but it's definitely not easy. Memphis was a surprise team last season, but might struggle to get a hot start this year. The first month is littered with games against contenders and there's really no place for a three or four-game winning streak.

Phoenix: The Suns will be breaking in a number of new players and won't get a chance to ease into it. Phoenix starts on the road at Portland and Utah, then moves home for games against the Lakers, Spurs and Grizzlies. A four-game road trip waits later in November that takes them to Miami, Orlando, Charlotte and Houston. Phoenix plays more playoffs teams than not with eight of its 14 November games being on the road.
Posted on: July 14, 2010 12:48 am
Edited on: July 14, 2010 1:03 am
 

Five GMs that could be the next to get the axe

Posted by Royce Young

Being in charge of a roster in any sport isn't as easy as us fans like to think it is. We have the ever-helpful tool of hindsight and we definitely use it every available opportunity.

And while GMs are often given time to develop their roster "vision" and plan, that doesn't mean they get forever, especially if the team stinks. Even if the plan is perfect, if the on-field or on-court results don't yield positivity, the chances of receiving a letter with the black spot on it increase exponentially. Ken Berger illustrates the ripple effect of firing a GM quite well in reference to the most recent dismissal, the Hornets' Jeff Bower.

So with four NBA general managers already being relieved of their duty this offseason, the obvious question is, who could be next? Who's on the hot seat and just how warm is it? Let's look at five captains that currently have warm backsides.

David Kahn, Minnesota Timberwolves

For whatever reason, I just feel like Kahn has some sort of trick up his sleeve. Surely these moves aren't really this nonsensical. Surely he has some sort of coherent plan, some kind of method to this madness. However, nothing indicates such a thing thus far.

With Tuesday's trade of former franchise man Al Jefferson to Utah for some draft picks and the rumored signing of a fourth point guard, Kahn's current reputation is nothing more than poster boy for clueless general managers. When writers are wondering if an avocado might make a better GM than you , that could be a warning that your seat is about to light on fire.

Donnie Walsh, New York Knicks

The pressure in New York is always higher. And plus when you campaign for a job behind the promise of luring LeBron James and then don't come through on that, things can tend to get a little dicey. But Walsh appears to have a quality plan. He's secured some cap space that will come in handy over the next few seasons when players like Carmelo Anthony become available.

However with the large signing of Amare Stoudemire and the overall deconstruction of the roster in order to build a winner through big signings, if Mike D'Antoni and crew don't deliver, Walsh may be putting his resume on CareerBuilder or actual might be retiring.

Joe Dumars, Detroit Pistons
Dumars was once considered one of the best and brighest in the GMs in the game. And then Allen Iverson happened. A trade that sent fan favorite and champion Chauncey Billups to Denver for a washing-but-not-quite-washed-up AI is what sent Dumars' into a tailspin. It was a bold move which I can definitely respect in a league where bold moves often don't happen, but simply put, it crashed and burned. Dumars then gave Richard Hamilton a curiously large extension, inked Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva for too much money and hired and fired a coach within a calendar year.

This year is big for Dumars. The Pistons landed a potentially excellent big man in Greg Monroe in the draft, plus have some promising young players like Jonas Jerebko and Rodney Stuckey. But Detroit isn't the type of town that handles being in the lottery multiple years very well. Sure Dumars brought home the big trophy in 2004, but in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, Dumars' teams haven't done a lot lately.

Ernie Grunfeld, Washington Wizards
Yep, Grunfeld was gifted John Wall. And yep, Wall could potentially save a lot of people's jobs because he's really, really good. But the thing is, when you land a talent of Wall's caliber, the pressure immediately shifts to the GM. He's got to supply his new, shiny toy complementing pieces to make sure he succeeds. And so far, the jury's out as to if Grunfeld is doing that.

He's obviously trying to move Gilbert Arenas and his albatross of a contract to better make room for Wall. He brought in Kirk Hinrich who could be an excellent player next to Wall. He also grabbed Yi Jianlian from New Jersey. But the team doesn't figure to be a whole lot better this upcoming season and with some expectation in Wall, if he doesn't develop, it could the end for Grunfeld.

Ed Stefanski, Philadelphia 76ers
Why Stefanski? Elton Brand. Elton Brand says it all. When you ink a player to a huge deal and then one year later are publically shopping that player to unload what everyone agrees is a "bad contract" that means you probably screwed the pooch. And when that contract will likely haunt the franchise for multiple years, then you really know it was bad. And of course the hiring of Eddie Jordan only to fire him months later definitely doesn't look great. Strike one and two.

The 76ers haven't been a truly relevant contender since 2003. And it's not like the 76ers don't have talent. There's just no cohesion to the roster in general. Andre Iguodala is a quality player, but he's clearly not a leading man. You can't fault Stefanski for trying though. He drastically overpaid for Brand, but that's because he thought he was a piece away. Though there's certainly honor in that, that stuff doesn't matter to a frustrated fanbase. Landing the second overall pick and Evan Turner could be huge for Stefanski but if Turner and the team comes along slowly, that could be strike three.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com