Blogs > Deitch on the 76ers

Daily Times staff writer Dennis Deitch covers the 76ers

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

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.


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