Through 57 games, here are a few things we have learned about the Sixers:
* We know that they have woefully underachieved this season. With basically the same players and adding a now-healthy Elton Brand, they haven’t come close to performing near the level of last year’s team, which got coach Maurice Cheeks fired and was gained a No. 6 seed in the playoffs, only to get ousted by the Orlando Magic in six games.
* We’ve learned that Lou Williams, who was signed to a five-year, $25 million contract before the 2008 season for his explosive performances off the bench, should stay in that role. That’s not a knock on Williams, but it just seems very obvious that due to his size and his scoring abilities, he is much more suited providing that offensive spark off the bench rather than trying to be a starter at the point.
* We’ve learned that when this team is playing at its best, which it has been doing for about the past two months, is still mired in mediocrity. Since snapping a three-game losing streak on the road in Portland on Dec. 28, the Sixers have played 28 games. They’ve gone 15-13 during that stretch for a .536 winning percentage. If they kept that pace throughout the season, they’d be about the fifth or sixth seed for an Eastern playoff spot. We’ve also learned what usually happens to those seeds in the first round.
* We’ve learned that promise doesn’t always translate into production. Forward Thaddeus Young had the kind of season a year ago that had many wanting to shop Andre Iguodala to any team with the slightest bit of interest so that the 22-year-old Young could hold down that position for the future. Young has struggled mightly this season to find his consistency. He still shows flashes of the game that had so many so hyped about him before this season, but it has been just that – flashes.
* We know that the guard positions, though addressed in the draft with Holiday, is painfully thin. A jaw injury to Williams started the Allen Iverson Project. Williams doesn’t appear to be a true point guard and, while a steady backup at either the shooting or point spot, Willie Green is not an everyday starter. Iguodala has often been thrust into the backcourt by coach Eddie Jordan, though it seems mostly out of necessity due to limited production. This team needs a legitimate shooting guard as bad as we need summer to arrive.
More in tomorrow's Daily News.