Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sixers Stay Put

(Note: Andre Miller update. Miller had an MRI this morning and the test confirmed a right calf strain, but no tear. He is listed as day-to-day. No word yet on whether he will play Saturday against the Miami Heat. Miller strained the muscle in the third quarter of last night's loss to the Denver Nuggets. Today Ed Stefanski said that Miller wanted to come back into the game last night in the fourth quarter, but the trainer wouldn't let him. Also, Stefanski said Miller would certainly try to get on the court Saturday against the Heat. Miller has a consecutive games streak to protect. Stefanski said Miller would workout before the game, and the Sixers trainer would have to make the decision about what was best long-term. But, overall, it doesn't sound like the calf strain is serious.)

Sixers Stay Put

The 76ers made no moves at the trade deadline, despite rumors that guard Andre Miller could have been traded. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
The 76ers made no moves at the trade deadline, despite rumors that guard Andre Miller could have been traded. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

(Note: Andre Miller update. Miller had an MRI this morning and the test confirmed a right calf strain, but no tear. He is listed as day-to-day. No word yet on whether he will play Saturday against the Miami Heat. Miller strained the muscle in the third quarter of last night's loss to the Denver Nuggets. Today Ed Stefanski said that Miller wanted to come back into the game last night in the fourth quarter, but the trainer wouldn't let him. Also, Stefanski said Miller would certainly try to get on the court Saturday against the Heat. Miller has a consecutive games streak to protect. Stefanski said Miller would workout before the game, and the Sixers trainer would have to make the decision about what was best long-term. But, overall, it doesn't sound like the calf strain is serious.)

There had been rumors swirling that the 76ers were trying to move Samuel Dalembert -- making confirmed calls to the Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans Hornets. There was also the possibility of trading point guard Andre Miller, whose contract expires at season's end.

But when it came time to actually finding a deal that worked for them, the Sixers and General Manager Ed Stefanski allowed the 3 p.m. NBA trade deadline to pass without changing their team. The Sixers have confirmed that nothing happened. That means the team right now -- with the exception of a 10-day signing -- is the team the Sixers will take their chances with for the rest of the season.

After the last two games -- both struggling losses -- the Sixers are 27-26 and seventh in the Eastern Conference. Because they didn't make a move, the Sixers are left with one glaring hole in their lineup: Shooting. And another semi-glaring hole: A go-to half-court option.

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The Sixers are last in the NBA in three-point shooting. All season long, both Stefanski and coach Tony DiLeo have said they believe the shooters exists -- or have the ability to develop -- within the Sixers lineup. That would mean Lou Williams, Willie Green, Thaddeus Young, Andre Iguodala, Royal Ivey, etc. For a short time -- maybe an 8 to 10 game span in January -- this actually looked like it could be the case. But lately the shooting has struggled. The Sixers are now last in the NBA in three-point percentage. This after last season, when they also finished last in the NBA in three-point percentage.

To Stefanski's credit, he acknowledged the Sixers need help in outside shooting. This afternoon he spoke about the Sixers' no-move at the trading deadline. He said that to get a "specialist" outside shooter, he would have had to trade one of his young guys -- Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Andre Iguodala, or Thaddeus Young. Stefanski felt it wasn't worth giving up such high-potential guys and said the team would address the outside shooting in the NBA Draft this spring and in the free-agent market this summer.

Yeah, it's frustrating watching 1 for 12 games from beyond the arc, but if the only way to get a decent outside shooter was to trade Thaddeus Young? Perhaps it's better to address this need, without giving something up, in the off season. The Rockets signed Brent Barry this past summer. If the Sixers can make a similar move, they'd keep their young core intact and offer an outside presence. As for this season, DiLeo is going to have to try to find a similar groove that they found in January, when they looked somewhat good from outside. It seems since then, the offensive sets haven't had quite the same rhythm, and neither have the timing of these shots.

It's interesting, I spoke with Royal Ivey before the Indiana game. Ivey had developed into a solid outside threat for the Sixers recently, but the last two games his shot has looked flat and has hit the front of the rim. When Ivey was making about one three pointer a game it was really an asset for the Sixers. Ivey spoke about how the biggest problem with his shot is that it can come off flat. And he knows that's a problem. And he works on getting lift, arc, etc. The last two games, his shots have been coming off flat. Ivey's a smart guy, I would be surprised if he didn't correct that quickly.

I don't claim Ivey to be the solution to the outside shooting problem, but his input of one make a game had been an improvement. And I would expect he would continue to do so. If the Sixers can get Young to make one a game, and Lou Williams can get his shot back on track (he obviously is taking enough shots to get it back), they might be able to patch together some semblance of an outside game -- will it be enough, though? That's the question.

Stefanski said he received plenty of calls about the "young guys," but that he didn't feel any of the proposed trades would make sense -- and believed these guys are the future of the team. He also said teams were inquiring about Jason Smith, who continues to rehab fom the ACL tear in July.

In regards to Andre Miller, Stefanski said that the Sixers never really came close to making a deal for Andre. He said he didn't just want to make a deal just to "get something" for Miller, and that the team would try to re-sign him after the season. Stefanski believes Miller is too important this season -- in getting this young team another playoff appearance -- and trading him would put that in jeopardy.

It seems the last two games -- the losses to the Pacers and Nuggets -- had everyone even more concerned about making a deal. But let's remember that a week ago this was the NBA's best team over an 18-game period (14-4).

--Kate

About this blog

Keith Pompey has been an Inquirer reporter since September 2004 and took over the Sixers beat in the summer of 2013 after covering Temple basketball and football for the previous three years.

Marc Narducci has served in a variety of roles with the Inquirer since beginning in 1983. He has covered the 76ers as a backup and a beat writer. In addition, Narducci has covered everything from the Super Bowl to the World Series and a lot in between.

Keith Pompey Inquirer Staff Writer
Marc Narducci Inquirer Staff Writer
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