Game On: Hornets @ Sixers

Published: December 12, 2010

So far this season the Hornets have feasted on the Eastern Conference, going 6-1, with their lone loss coming at the hands of the red hot New York Knicks. Overall, the Hornets have lost 7 of their last 10 games, so the Philadelphia 76ers appear to be just what New Orleans needs (much like Detroit was earlier in the week).

Rather than just speculate on what is going on with the opponent, I had a little chat with the enemy. I wanted to know a couple of details about the team, along with an outsiders perspective on our whole situation. The following is a brief interview with Carey Smith from Philadunkia, the 76ers ESPN affiliated TrueHoop blog:

What has been Philadelphia’s most effective 5 man lineup this year?

Carey Smith: That’s an easy one…AI9, Thad, Brand, Holiday and Meeks. Even though he has shown signs of life in the last 3-4 games, Spencer Hawes has been a complete disappointment this season.

Has there been any noticeable difference in Iguodala’s game since his stint with Team USA this summer?

CS: For me the noticeable difference has been that ‘Dre was not himself early on this season.  He looked tired, banged up and at times frustrated with his own play.  After a self induced 10 day lay-off for a soar achilles, in my opinion, AI9 is just now starting to play up to his usual standards.

After such a promising first two years, why has Speights seemingly hit a wall?

CS: It’s funny that the perception around the League is that Speights had a promising first two years. Did Speights score in bunches during the first two years? The answer to that one is “yes” and I guess that’s what people see when they read the box scores or watch SC. But what people who don’t watch the Sixers nightly may not have seen is that Speights is a one-dimensional player. He’s a big who can score on 12-16 foot jumpers and that’s it. His defense is atrocious. He can’t bang on the blocks. He also has a low basketball IQ and frequently messes up the Sixers sets. Finally, he doesn’t rebound well for an athletic, 6-10 player. All of these issues are not new either, they were all happening during those early “promising” years.

Speights literally drives me crazy because he appears not to care about any elements of his game outside of having a silky jumper.  I he did, a player with his athleticism and God given talent would have improved on some of those weaknesses by now.

Can Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner co-exist long term? If not, what would the Sixers be looking to get in return for either player?

CS: This was easily the biggest question the Sixers were facing from training camp until mid-November.  That’s when ‘Dre went out with his achilles and Turner went into the starting lineup. Turner played well for a couple of games in AI9’s absence, but he’s not ready to start in the NBA. Not long after ‘Dre returned, Turner was removed from the starting lineup because his play had become horrible and now he is barley getting any tick.  So who knows if they can play together because they were only the court at the same time for a handful of games.

What I can tell you about Turner is this…Before the 2010 Draft a well respected NBA player personnel executive told me that Turner’s position in the NBA would be PG because he needs the ball in his hands to be effective. At the time I kind of dismissed the evaluation as an unusual observation. Now I’m not saying Turner will never develop into a good NBA shooting guard. He has a great work ethic and in time could very well become a solid 2-guard. But every time I watch Turner play this season, that above statement about Turner really being a point in this League seems to hold more truth.

So I don’t think either of these players is going any where right now because the Sixers have no idea what is going to happen with Turner.

As an outside observer, what do you make of all the drama going on with the Hornets?

CS: Honestly, I get a kick out of it.  It reminds me a little of the Iverson era here in Philly. Although CP3 doesn’t have the off-court issues, baggage and attitude problem that plagued Iverson during his time as a 76er. Sixers fans were always demanding that the Sixers front office get AI more help. Although he never said it publicly, I’m sure behind the scenes Iverson was begging for it as well. Yet they never got him a bonafide second fiddle and one could argue that’s one reason the Sixers only went to the NBA Finals once in the Iverson years. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the only reason, but it’s certainly one of them.

I just hope for Paul’s sake as well as Hornets fans that the NOH can learn from mistakes other NBA franchises (like the Sixers) have made when dealing with  mega-talent.

So, apparently the guy isn’t the biggest Marreese Speights supporter, he doesn’t think Iggy is going anywhere, and somehow CP3’s situation reminds him of the “Practice??!?” days back in Philly. Agree or disagree, I love getting outsiders opinions on our Hornets and I don’t have the time to watch all 30 teams play this year, so hearing from a guy who has to both watch and analyze every Sixers game makes me feel just a tad bit more informed.

If it is in fact true that Philly will be leaning heavy on a combo of Iggy, Holiday, Thad, Meeks, and Brand, then the Hornets should have their way inside and West should have a field day. In fact, there is nobody on that roster who can cover him, so expect the Hornets to go to that early and often.

The Hornets need this game because the Miami Heat are looming and will be waiting for revenge on South Beach tomorrow night. Speaking of, that gives me a chance to remind all of you about the first Hornets watch party of the year tomorrow night, December 13th against those Miami Heat. The game is at 6:30 CT, and will be shown at Extreme Sports Bar and Grille on 535 Tchoupitoulas St. RSVP on facebook, bring your friends, and support the Save Our Hornets foundation please. Already the word is getting out and enough money has been raised in less than 72 hours to have bought over 100 tickets for underprivileged local youths to attend a game.

Thanks to the amazing Dariusz Ejkiewicz for the Game Day Banner. rm- I am sorry, but it looks like Pops might have been just a 1 time deal.

Game On folks, chat it up right here and don’t forget to share your thoughts in our forums as well.


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