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The Other Side: Philadelphia 76ers (UPDATED)


Elton, you were supposed to make this easier for us. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)


The Washington Wizards have been a disappointment this season, but at least they have the excuse of being without Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood. The Philadelphia 76ers added Elton Brand last summer, yet they have lost three in a row - eight out of 10 overall - and are last in the Atlantic Division at 9-14.

What's their excuse? Sometimes, teams look better on paper than they do on the court. The situation was examined in a story I wrote earlier this week, but apparently, Philadelphia General Manager Ed Stefanski believes the problems fall on the feet of coach Maurice Cheeks. Cheeks has reportedly been fired, becoming the fifth coach to get canned this season.

Assistant General Manager Tony DiLeo will replace Cheeks on an interim basis and patrol the sidelines tonight. You have to wonder how long it'll be before former Wizards Coach Eddie Jordan has his reunion with Stefanski, whom he worked with in New Jersey.

The Sixers love making big moves before games against Washington, huh? Remember when the Wizards met Philadelphia in December two years ago? Allen Iverson was sent home, told not to report to the arena and owner Ed Snider announced that their franchise player had played his last game for the 76ers. Crazy times, indeed.

Here is what else you should know about the 76ers:


1. Brand Doesn't Look Right - Yet
Brand seemed to be the missing piece to a possible Eastern Conference contender when he signed last summer. The plan was for Brand, a two-time all-star, to help the 76ers score in half-court sets whenever the running game halted. Brand doesn't appear to be fully recovered from the ruptured left Achilles that limited him to just eight games with the Clippers. He also missed two games with a strained right hamstring, which may have been caused by compensator for the other injury.

Brand is averaging just 6.7 points in his past three games since returning. His presence has basically eliminated the uptempo offense and left the rest of his teammates - most notably Samuel Dalembert, Andre Iguodala and Louis Williams - befuddled and underachieving.

2. Samuel Dalembert Is Lost
Andre Iguodala has struggled adjusting to playing shooting guard, so Maurice Cheeks recently moved Iguodala to small forward and started Willie Green, pushing promising forward Thaddeus Young to the bench. But no player has been more perplexing than Dalembert, who is averaging just 5.8 points, his lowest scoring average since his rookie year. He has complained about not understanding his role, and he has played three games without scoring a point this season. There are murmurs that rookie Marreese Speights could replace him in the starting lineup, yet he still ranks second in all-star balloting for centers.

3. The 76ers Can't Win At Home
Philadelphia has lost five games in a row at Wachovia Center. Their last home win came on Nov. 23 against Golden State that pushed the 76ers' record to 7-6. Since then, they have lost to Orlando, Chicago, the Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey and Cleveland. Although Cheeks has been dismissed, his presence will be felt in the building tonight. His No. 10 jersey hangs in the rafters.

By Michael Lee  |  December 13, 2008; 12:12 PM ET
 
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Next: Jordan to Philly?

Comments

I hope President Obama saves some bailout money to rescue the Wizards :-)

Posted by: khrabb | December 13, 2008 10:51 AM

khrabb,

The owners who are willing to spend money to try and win a championship are bailing cheap ABE out. If ABE were to get 25 million from congress he would not exceed the luxury cap. He would put that money in his bank account and have kal explain to the fans that he isn’t cheap.


Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 13, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Well, Cheeks is out.

I wonder with the down economy whether management just can't afford (literally) to stick with guys longer.

Seems pretty quick to fire him even though they've been struggling.

Posted by: SteveMG | December 13, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Brand is averaging just 6.7 points in his past three games but he gets to play against AJ so he doesn’t have to worry about being guarded all night.

Philadelphia has a skinny center in Dalembert, who has no clue how to play basketball, what will Edtap do? Play DS! It was a stupid move by Philadelphia to sign Dalembert to a long term deal the man can not play in this league. They realized that and drafted rookie Marreese Speights.

This is a team the Wizards should be able to beat. If they lose this game the Wizards have become the Clippers of the East.

It must make ABE proud that he turned this franchise in to a joke?

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 13, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Deshawn Stevenson starting?????? You're kidding, right? I'm searching high and low for an answer as to why we are not giving our younger players more time. It seems to me (I'm sorry - it's obvious to me) that this season is DONE!! Common sense (is there any of that left in this town?) dictates that you would play your younger guys to 1) get them the gametime experience needed, and 2) to see what you are working with. I know that I would attend games, even if we are losing, to see the development of the younger players. I don't think us fans are asking too much by wanting to see the younger players play more. Hell, we're losing anyway. If we're going to lose, shouldn't we gain experience while doing so? Oh, maybe I'm making too much sense, huh?

Starting lineup:

Crittenton
Young
Butler
Blatche
McGee
Jamison (6th man) He would STILL get his minutes!!

Abe, if you want to put fans in the stadium, DO SOMETHING!!!!

Posted by: hamptonpirates89 | December 13, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Ed Snider apparently decided that Billy King's three-year rebuilding plan that he had publicly endorsed was two-plus years too long. So, Snider officially fired King and hired Philadelphia native Ed Stefanski, a self-described “basketball lifer,” is known as a guy who isn't afraid to take risks or make changes. Ed did not hire Cheeks.

SteveMG

In the Wizards case EG fired EJ because he did not want to admit that signing AJ and GA to long term deals was a mistake or take the responsibility for his own bad player decisions.

Ed Snider has the b*lls to do what is right. Something ABE does not do.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 13, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like they could use DeS. Did you hear that he's our best defender on the perimeter?

It turns out that the opposition averages 108 points per 48 minutes when he's in the game and 97 points per 48 minutes when he's out.

Is my math right on this??? If so, maybe his offensive prowess makes up for it???

Posted by: Izman | December 13, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Another case of the GM making the coach the fall guy for his own missteps.

Cheeks is the least of the Sixers problems. Last season the Sixers were a team that made it to the playoffs by playing uptempo smallball, forcing turnovers by scrambling and running out in transition. It was all about speed and pace.

Acquiring Brand was a great move. Acquiring Brand and doing nothing else to remake the team to take advantage of Brand was a dumb move. You can't just take a low post, half-court, pound it inside big man, drop him into the middle of a run-n-gun speed team and expect to keep rolling like nothing happened. In order to maximize what a guy like Brand brings, you've got to surround him with shooters to space the floor. The Sixers are one of the worst jumpshooting teams in the NBA (which is one of the reasons Cheeks went small and fast, to cover their half-court shooting deficiencies). Of course they struggled. Dropping Brand into that mix was like trying to plug a 3-pronged electrical plug into a two-pronged wall socket without an adapter.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 13, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Another case of the GM making the coach the fall guy for his own missteps.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 13, 2008 3:00 PM

Kal,
When you make a post at least have a clue what you are talking about. The Sixers situation is not like the Wizards where EG fired EJ to cover for his mistakes and ABE’s cheapness. Billy King hired Cheeks and Ed Stefanski fired him because he wants to take the team in another direction.

Ed Snider hired Ed Stefanski to fix the problems Billy King made while he was GM. Last years team could not rebound and they addressed that problem by signing Elton Brand. Stefanski will let Andre Miller walk after this season, but they are stuck with Dalembert’s long term deal. Sort of like the way the Wizards are now since they were stupid to sign AJ and GA to long term deals.

The difference is the Robert’s who own Comast have BILLIONS and are not cheap. The organization is not just satisfied with making the playoffs; they want to win a championship. If the Robert’s were cheap like Abe they would have never traded AI, he keep the fans coming to the games.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | December 13, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Why do the same loser coaches keep getting jobs?

Cheeks failed in Portland and came back to the Sixers and is now out.

If Boston management and ownership never ponied up for KG and Ray Allen, then Doc Rivers would probably be be talking head still as he failed in Orlando.

Now, people are talking about another has been, Eddie Jordan, as a candidate for another job.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | December 13, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

As usual, bulletsfan uses lots of words to say what could be said in just a few, namely "bulletsfan78 is an idiot."

Cheeks was fired because the Sixers got off to a slow start and weren't living up the the wildy overhyped expectations that were created by the Brand signing. The reason the expectations were overhyped was because, while signing Brand was a great move, the GM failed to make the other moves needed to make the first one work, first and foremost of which was signing some shooters to put around Brand to space the floor. As a result, the team struggled trying to (A) integrate a half-court player like Brand into their uptempo style and (B) getting their uptempo roster to play half-court to accommodate Brand's presence. Cheeks was trying to remake the teams identity, which takes time, which means patience. but because Stefanksi drank his (and Wilbon's) own kool-aid, he thought the Sixers should have been up there with the Celtics and Cavs. And when they weren't, he got itchy in the pants and kicked Cheeks to the curb.

In other words, the GM failed to give to give the coach all of the tools and time he needed to do the job and then fired him when he didn't get the job done fast enough.

Sound familiar?

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 14, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

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