In the last few days, the questions/emails/requests have been mainly focused around two topics: the play of Jodie Meeks and the play (or lack of play) of Evan Turner.
Since today is another off day on the schedule for the 76ers -- they play at the Chicago Bulls tomorrow -- we'll try to address these two topics as best as possible. First, the regular round of links and promotions. If you want to follow on Twitter, that's the best way to be connected to all stories, blogs, and quick-hit info. Click here: Deep Sixer. If you want our brand-new APP that includes everything plus APP-exclusive posts and videos for our Holiday-special price of $.99, you can find that here: Basketball APP. If you want to read Sunday's "Inside the Sixers" from the Inquirer about the team's improving defense, that's here: Inside the Sixers. Finally, I've embedded another "On the Road" video into this post, answering a question about life on the road for the Sixers. If you want to see the blooper video in making that video, it's embedded in this post from Saturday: Blooper. Just trying to keep things interesting around here.
If you want to understand why the Giants' Matt Dodge would punt a line drive to DeSean Jackson, you can probably find that somewhere else on Philly.com.
OK, onto Jodie Meeks. The questions we've been getting are mainly about Meeks' ability to be a starting shooting guard in the NBA. Obviously, he is a starting shooting guard right now, and his first few games seemed to make his case that he belonged there. Recently, his outside shooting touch has left him. In watching, you can tell he's getting frustrated at missing these outside looks. He'll often exhibit some form of frustration immediately after a miss, while running back down court. Here's how the numbers look for Meeks in the last 5 games: 3 for 20 from beyond the arc and 12 for 44 from the field. In that same span, the Sixers are 4-1. We haven't had enough time watching Meeks to know for sure, but my guess is that this will be the longest slump we'll see from him this season. Once he gets out of it (which -- we'll take a guess here -- will come tomorow against the Bulls), it's doubtful we'll see such a gap in shooting touch from the guy. Why? It seems he started out so gangbusters, so on fire, so far above his normal ability (come on, all those threes at the Miami Heat or at home against the Bobcats is not normal, no matter how smooth your stroke) that he was bound to hit a slump with a similar, reverse trajectory. The truth of Meeks' game is somewhere between the two performances and it's likely we'll see him settle into a more steady performance over the next 20 games. In the mean time, we can't overlook the things he's still doing on the floor. At the Orlando Magic, Meeks still contributed by attacking the basket, playing very good defense, and spreading the floor. Verdict: don't worry too much about Meeks right now. He'll be fine.
And, of course, there's Evan Turner. This could be the most popular of all the questions. Why isn't he playing? What's going on? Should he be playing more? Doug Collins said last week that he will always lean towards giving Turner the first shot off the bench (not consistently in front of Lou or Thad, but in front of Andres Nocioni). My reaction is that Collins said this in assuming he'd get some production out of Turner. Right now, he's getting nothing. So he's gone to Nocioni a couple of times in the last week. Turner needs to start responding. In the last seven games, Turner has had more than one field goal only once. Seems like Collins is willing to keep going back to Turner if he sees something out there that's helping the team. There's nothing remarkably new to say about this situation right now. It's too early to make a verdict on Turner, but you can be sure Collins will keep extending him playing time. Wish there was some insight, something more helpful to relay, but what you're seeing on the court/on the TV is exactly the reason he isn't earning himself more time.
More tomorrow from Chicago.
Each week, Kate will check in from the road and answer fan questions about the Sixers. Click here to ask Kate a question or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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