*Primoz remains inactive tonight for the 7th straight game. Check out the Deep Sixer video in the bottom right video player for a video with Iguodala and Speights running a couple of football pass routes before tonight's game against the New Jersey Nets. Speights looks like he could have been a good receiver. For faster updates, follow Deep Sixer on Twitter, click here: Deep Sixer.
For a few weeks the discussion was about when Eddie Jordan's offense (technically called the Princeton Offense, but not necessarily being a reflection of the offense Princeton actually ran) would start flowing. For the last few days, the discussion has been revolving around the 76ers frontcourt: the minutes for Elton Brand, the possibility of Speights replacing "someone" in the starting lineup (who would Speights replace? If he replaces Dalembert, that means the Sixers starting frontcourt is Speights and Brand, which is quite small. If he replaces Brand, wow, then you're not starting the guy to whom you're paying $80 million? Jordan has said the starting lineup won't be changing in the near future, anyway). Also of concern is losing Samuel Dalembert in the same way he was lost last season: mentally.
I can't post a blog item today without at least referencing the issues brewing with Brand and, to a lesser degree, Dalembert. But if you want the full scoop, you can check out these two articles from today's Inquirer. Elton Brand and Sixers issues, the second of which was from Mr. Bob Ford.
Tonight, the Sixers (3-4) are at the New Jersey Nets (0-7) at the Izod Center here in East Rutherford. It's wonderful being in New Jersey. The Nets are still depleted. No Devin Harris, no Chris Douglas-Roberts, no Tony Battie, no Yi Jianlian, no Jarvis Hayes. Even Courtney Lee, who played in the last game between these two, is questionable with a strained left groin.
Okay, so I know this is crazy, but let's take a look at a few of the positives for this team so far (because we know the negatives, we know this has been a rough start and issues are a-brewin' ... but a few wins could smooth the road). So, going into what should be a victory tonight, here's some positives for which to look:
1.) Andre Iguodala's shooting percentage. He's shooting 51.4 percent from the floor. His outside jumper, through 7 games, has improved. Even those who dislike Iguodala's game -- you know who you are -- have to admit that his jumper has looked better than last year. Jordan has made it clear that Iguodala will be his No. 1 guy and is the team's best player. Will he make the All-Star game this year? I think that's 50-50. I'm not oblivious to some of Iguodala's issues, especially his on-court behavior -- but those discussions are for a later, less positive blog post.
2.) The play of Marreese Speights. His abilities on the offensive end are actually -- through 7 games -- amazing. His touch around the basket is the best on the team. For a second-year player, taken in the middle of the first round, he's playing like a Top 5 pick. And it seems Jordan is not afraid to give him the important minutes, so he's going to continue to gain experience.
3.) I know there are plenty of Sixers fans who think the team should have selected Ty Lawson. I just don't see that (perhaps we'll get comments with people linking me to Lawson's stats?). Holiday is going to be very, very good. He played more against the Suns and he should play more and more as the season progresses. I'm jumping on the Holiday bandwagon right now: This kid is good. For anyone who watched the game against the Suns, you might have noticed how Holiday and Williams played together, with Williams playing the off guard. I thought Williams looked really comfortable back to his slashing role. Williams has done a nice job at point this season, but it was good seeing him in that scoring role again. Holiday/Williams backcourt should be something we continue to see more of.
I'm out of positives, plus it's time to get to a few press conferences and see what Jordan has to say in advance of tonight's game ...