Blogs > Deitch on the 76ers

Daily Times staff writer Dennis Deitch covers the 76ers

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Theme Song For the Sixers...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Three is a magic number ... the Sixers can't seem to reach.

In honor of the Sixers' inability to win three -- three! -- straight games, let's remember what Schoolhouse Rock once told us. (FYI: Blind Melon does a great version of this song.)

Your Morning... Noon... Mid-Afternoon... Late Afternoon Moment of Den

That took long enough. Sorry, but a combination of ailing wife/chiropractor visit/no WiFi at the 76ers practice facility meant I didn't have a cup of joe in front of me until 2:45 -- 2:45! Who the hell is supposed to function this way.

After hearing Allen Iverson chide his teammates for being "lackadaisical" in the second half of games like Monday night's loss to the Pacers, you get the sense that after having a couple of months to be with the team that he has generated some opinions on which players (or coaches) should stay and which should go.

Iverson isn't g0ing to specifically name these people ... but it might behoove general manager Ed Stefanski to bring Iverson upstairs for a sit-down and try to get an assessment of things from the veteran. Because if Stefanski wants to be the one in charge of righting a ship that he has had a hand in damaging, then he needs to get some unbiased opinions from s0meone who knows a little something about the inner workings of players -- and Iverson certainly knows something about playing with heart. The man has made a career out of it.

There has been a rise in the chatter about Andre Iguodala being a prime trade suspect. Some people insist it has to happen. I'm not quite there yet. However, what Iguodala does need to understand is that he is a part of this team's dip from mediocrity to brutality. He entered the season shooting nearly 47 percent from the floor for his career; this season he is at 42.4 percent. He tried to sell this story about last-second heaves at the end of quarters perhaps skewing the number. Come on, man. You're dealing with a math guy here. You would have had to have throw up 60-plus prayers more this season than you typically would have through a half-season in the past for that to bring your field-goal percentage down that far. Sell that somewhere else.

This isn't to suggest that Iguodala suddenly has become a mediocre player. But the arrival of Eddie Jordan and departure of Andre Miller have coincided with his being a less efficient offensive player. Is it the offense? Is it not having a well-heeled point guard putting him in better scoring positions? It could be some of both. But the real problem with Iguodala is that he seems to be in mourning out there for the leadership role that he basically has lost to Iverson, Elton Brand -- even to Lou Williams for a while. The problem is that Iguodala isn't the best leader. It isn't about intensity or effort. Few players are as focused and try as hard as he does at ends of the court. But there is a poisonous pessimist in the guy. He is that player who shows more disgust in other players making poor decisions than he does in his own (and he makes some real clunkers at times). And once a team starts having the raised expectations that the Sixers had built over the previous two seasons, that trait starts to come into play more often. And it can wreck team confidence.

That is what Iverson is seeing. I know he tried to say that the confidence is there, and I know where he's coming from. But that confidence has been lost because many of the players on this team have detached their emotions as a survival instinct -- be it from Iguodala's eye-rolls, Eddie Jordan's randomness when it comes to playing time (how in the hell was Dalembert not on the court when Dahntay Jones was backing his way into the lane against Lou Williams?), or the air of disappointment this first half has caused to permeate the locker room.

Iverson sees guys trying to survive challenges, not take them on. He knows there is no way the Sixers should be this deep in the tank. Andre Miller is missed ... but for crying out loud, he isn't THAT missed.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


.... if you want to follow me on Twitter, it's dd_onthenba.

A few things:

1) If you're looking for consistent, in-depth, breaking Tweets, don't follow me. It's Twitter. If I thought I could tell you something worthwhile in 140 characters or less, I'd work at the Metro. I'm a writer.

2) While I'm a writer, I'm a wannabe comedian. I'm not saying I'm funny, but I wish I was funny enough to make a living from being funny. My Tweets are often out to get a laugh out of what's happening, be it an NBA game or life in general. If this is not what you're after, then don't follow me.

3) If you are still interested in following my Tweets, then I encourage interaction. The best Tweets come from conversations.

Your morning moment of Den.

Sometimes I like to sleep on things. I'm not sure if it's because somewhere in my subconscious things speak to me (I very rarely have any recollection of my dreams), or if it's the Yang of deliberation trying to balance the Yin of impulse that usually dominates my personality. Regardless of the reason, I'm going to make a "morning after" post a staple of this blog the day following games I cover.

Let's go over a couple of things that stick in my mind following last night's -- shocking? stunning? where-the-hell-has-that-been? -- victory over the Mavericks.

1) Eddie Jordan's starting switch: I know there were a few writers that were irritated by Jordan's masking his shifting of Elton Brand and Jrue Holiday to starting roles and Thad Young and Lou Williams to reserve status. Here's how I feel about it: It wasn't about us. It was an attempt at gamesmanship, and I kind of like when coaches use that in the right amounts.

m Jordan is a desperate coach right now. He should be. If the Sixers win 14 games in the second half, I can almost guarantee he will not be the coach in 2010-11. If he thought that springing a 40-percent shift in his starting five at the last minute on a team like Dallas might offer the Sixers some intangible, then why not try it. I know that in this world of Twitter and Facebook there are reporters who feel this need to offer immediate information, and if they tweeted the starting five at 6 pm (first of all, it would have been the same-ol', same-ol' ... so that would have been a snoozer of a tweet) they would have been wrong by 7 pm.

Big deal. It's a tweet. Let's not get neurotic about this stuff.

As for the lineup switch itself, Jordan got it half-right. Brand should start, and Thad Young should come off the bench. Young has been very discombobulated this season. But when you run him out there late in the first quarter or in the second quarter against an opponent's reserves, he will be the best player on the court. And when he's the best player on the court, he is very, very explosive, as he showed in the second quarter last night.
But Williams should go back in the starting lineup tonight. Holiday is a little too green for the assignment; his skills play up far better when he comes off the bench. Yes, a Williams-Iverson backcourt is very undersized and defensively overmatched some nights. But the Sixers have been a pretty good first-quarter team this season. If Williams or Iverson isn't a good fit some night, just shorten their time on the court by subbing in for them. There's no law that says a sub has to play fewer minutes than a starter.

2) The WNJC guy: This is more of a behind-the-scenes thing, but it was too humorous to not mention. There was a guy from the radio station WNJC -- don't know who he was, and I don't feel a need to point him out by name for ridicule -- credentialed for the game and he was VERY excited about the Sixers win.

Every now and then you get a non-sports media member who finagles a credential to the game. But usually they lay low and keep any excitement about being in this element to themselves. Well, the WNJC guy wasn't about to keep his mouth shut. The result was hilarity.

As the postgame presser with Eddie Jordan was winding down, WNJC guy suddenly raised his voice: "Your bench outscored them by 22 points in this game! Great effort!"
That was his question. Jordan responded with an "Uhhh, thanks" that was just precious. It was beautiful.

Oh, but WNJC guy saved his best for Allen Iverson. (Thanks to AP's Dan Gelston for the tape of this.):

"Allen, you're an All-Star, and i think you've been an All-Star your whole career, you deserve this more than anybody on the Philadelphia 76ers. You're an icon and Philadelphia loves you, as well as I do from WNJC."
Yeah, he said that.

Personally, I want that dude at every game. He was like the crazy uncle at the Thanksgiving table. I even suggested to the other writers that we have a WNJC Guy Night where we all approach the postgame interviews with that style. It would be like a Twilight Zone episode. It would be beautiful.

OK, the coffee cup is empty. I have an Iverson analysis that I thought about writing here, but I would like to write it for the paper. In the midst of his All-Star selection discussion, Allen wandered into the Tiger Woods territory, and it gave me an interesting idea for a column.

Friday, January 22, 2010

And ... we're back.

Apparently a Y2K glitch had caused the blog to deep-six just before the Sixers started to deep-six themselves.

Well, they are hoping for a fresh start to the second half beginning tonight against the Mavericks, so we'll do the same with the blog.

Things to watch: The Sixers are a good offensive rebounding team, while the Mavs are solid on the defensive glass. At the other end, the Mavs aren't much for the offensive boards, but the Sixers are 25th out of 30 teams in defensive rebounding pct.

As for guarding Nowitzki, the Sixers largely will go with Iguodala against him, but Dalembert will switch off Dampier and try to offer some size against Nowitzki if he decides to post the smaller Iguodala.