Sixers Have Clutch Problems Part 1: The PlayersPosted: January 26, 2012
Don’t tell me I’m only focusing on the negative here. Sixers are 0-4 in games decided by 4 points or less. Last season, they had a bad record for games decided by 5 points or less. The point is, I don’t think the Sixers can make a serious next step of being a great team until they fix this issue. You have to know how to win close games. If the Sixers are relying on blowing everybody out, they need to wake up. You don’t blow out every team. I don’t want this post to be too long so we’ll talk about clutch problems the players have and the next post will be coaching.
The loss to the Nets was terrible. Terrible. Sixers should have won that. Their better rebounders were injured so I’ll let that slide. But, once again, Sixers make these foolish moves in the last moments of the game. Success in the clutch requires a go-to guy, experience, and good coaching. Sixers lose out in two of those areas; go-to guy and experience. Maybe even coaching too.
We can talk about how wonderful the balanced scoring is. But, as bad as the Nets are, they have someone who can put this team on his back. With the Sixers, everybody feels like they can do it because all game they are sharing and caring. Everybody wants to be the hero. It’s not a problem to have the balanced attack. But, at this point, Sixers need to give the ball to someone who will do the right thing. Lou Williams right? Ha. Lou wants to chuck up contested far away 3 pointers all day every day. And it only gets worse when Collins says to do it in clutch situations. I do not trust Lou. Andre Iguodala? I don’t want him shooting. Period.
Now when people say “they need a go-to guy”, people will interpret that as “we need a superstar”. Just stop. Sixers’ balanced attack is wonderful. I like it a lot. But we’ve seen time and time again that “riding the hot hand” isn’t always the best answer. Now, we have to ask ourselves if Sixers have a true go-to guy. Evan Turner? He’s the only Sixers player that consistently attacks the rim. He’s able to draw the defense. Why is this important? He’s such a good passer he can kick the ball out to a shooter like Meeks or Lou, or if the defense doesn’t collapse on Turner, he can draw a foul or just finish. You saw that with Iverson all the time. He’d get to the rim and either finish or pass it to an open guy. Not saying Turner is Iverson.
So now a go-to guy doesn’t have to be the best scorer. He needs to be a good set up man. Let me clarify that statement. Sixers probably shouldn’t count on Iso plays anymore. Just give the ball to Turner. I know it’s only his second year. But we know the Iguodala result. We know the Williams result. Perhaps it’s time to start something new. We don’t know how well Turner functions in the clutch. It’s not like he could do a whole lot worse than what we’re doing now. And I’m still on the whole “play for the future” thing. If Turner is a big part of the future, it’s probably wise to get him in clutch situations early so that later in his career he’s got a good understanding of what to do. Kobe Bryant has missed some big shots late in games so you know Turner is missing some shots too.
Do the Sixers have a championship riding on this season? No. Are they one piece away from contending. Maybe but I’ll say no. Time to get Turner some power. Give him the ball. He’s smart. He’s got shooters around him. He has great ball handling skills. He has everything you need from a clutch player. He can make things happen. Invest in your future, Sixers. Holiday has been wildly inconsistent but he’s still a big part of this team’s future. Time to get these two players gelling now. We barely know how well they play with each other in clutch situations.
But here’s why Iguodala and Williams will always have the ball. Collins is a win now coach. New ownership put their money in this and you know they want some early returns. I don’t trust that they would trade Iguodala. They’re going to keep him because the Sixers are winning. Sixers will not win anything with him being out best player. Not happening. So at this point, we can just stop expecting Turner to get serious clutch time. Collins is all about veteran experience. This won’t change even though his team is one of the youngest in the league. I’m sure of this because the Sixers lost to Nuggets. In that game, Turner was the ONLY thing that kept the Sixers in the game. He attacked the rim when everybody thought long 2′s were the answer. He stayed in there until the last play of regulation. Then Collins takes him out. Why? Turner was the man. He was feeling it, stroking it, and moving the ball. Turner was the only player doing anything right out there and he gets yanked. Then, Sixers fans got to watch Iguodala do something basketball related and we’re in OT.
We barely see Turner in OT and the Sixers lose. I’m not saying Turner would have won the game but he was the best player on the team that night but it seems to me that Collins doesn’t want Turner in clutch time. I don’t understand. But we’ll save that for the coaching part in the next post. My endorsement goes to Evan Turner as the clutch man. He doesn’t have to score. But, he can make stuff happen.