Are The Sixers Falling Apart?
Doug Collins said after Saturday's loss that he'll give the current starting lineup one more game, today at Boston, before pulling the trigger on lineup changes.
The problem is it may be to late.
The Sixers free fall as already begun, losing four of their last six and nine of the past 13 to drop from the four seed in the playoffs to just about out of them.
First Andre Iguodala calls out both the fans and his own teammates, then a report by former Sixers beat reporter Kate Fagan emerges saying the team has had it with Collins.
In her report, she suggests that Collins' coaching style "is a huge issue within the locker room, and that on more than one occasion, players have let Collins know — during a game — that they’re sick of the relentless nitpicking."
The schedule is favorable, but the road trips and recently play are not. Nine of their final 11 games are on the road, on the bright side, six of their final 11 are verses team with losing records and have no shot at the playoffs.
However, that might not be enough. If their effort in a embarrassing home loss to the Toronto Raptors last week is any indication, Fagan's report appears to be right, losing 99-78 to a team that is 20-36 this season.
A flawed team from the start, the Sixers don't have a scorer that they can lean on when times are tough or a leader they can call on when things get rough. What this team did well, to race out to a 20-9 start was defend and buy-in to what Collins was telling them.
Once fresh legs and youth gave into talent the bottom began to fall out on this team.
The current starting line-up of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Iguodala, Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes lacks the dynamic slasher that can get to the basket and score when times are tough. Fans hope and wish that Iguodala would be that gut, but in his eight season he has never relished in that role.
Turner doesn't have the athletic ability do consistently get to the basket and appears to be more of a point guard in a two guard body. Holiday has regressed this season after showing signs in last years playoffs that he might be an all-star caliber player and Brand and Hawes both lack the athletic ability to dominate scoring in the post.
Off-the-bench, Lou Williams leads the team in scoring, but still has problems late in games when the team needs that big basket. Williams is still a poor man's Allen Iverson, undersized with a poor shooting percentage. Williams hasn't shot 50 percent or better from the field in nine games.
Thad Young is one guy who seems to have the chance to be a consistent scorer, he is a match-up problem for both power forwards and small forwards but much like the rest of the roster, he can't create his own shot.
Another player who can be defined as a role player is Jodie Meeks, he is a guy who can come off the bench and drain a three point shot, but again he can't create anything off-the-dribble. Meeks has a role, its just not as a starter in this league, which is what he was for much of this season.
Younger players like Nikola Vucevic and Lavoy Allen provided energy off the bench, but this team needs more then energy, it needs a identity and none of the guys listed above provide that.
Many times on the show I have said I would have taken DeMarcus Cousins with the second pick in the draft over Evan Turner. While I think Turner can play, he is out-of-place here and was never the right fit. People have said Cousins has a bad attitude and would disrupt the locker room, citing that he already got a coach fired.
Something tells me that if the Sixers had a personality and presence like Cousins, we would all be talking about the Sixers first round match-up instead of wondering if they would even be a part of them.
This team lacks an identity and a presence and now the so-called leader, Iguodala, is looking for scape-goats.
Heck even the teams CEO has begun to wonder whats wrong with this team. Adam Aron has been tweeting up a storm recently suggesting changes needed to be made.
Here are a few of his recent posts:
Yet another @Sixers 1 point game with a few minutes to play that we did not win. Sadly, a familiar story this season. Boston tomorrow..
Rod Thorn has his work cut out for him, trying to find a star under the NBA rules is not easy, but it's the only thing that will take this team to the next level. Now is the time to deal Iguodala, the Sixers need to change the face of this team. The first step was new ownership, the next step will be a new face on the floor.
Now is the time, for the fans, it has to be done.