NBA Roundtable

Brand To The Bench?

In General NBA on November 17, 2009 at 9:26 am

Kate Fagan reports

It’s not a 100 percent, but if you read between the lines, it seems probable that Sixers coach Eddie Jordan might go with a different starting lineup on Wednesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats. And it seems power forward Elton Brand will be out of the lineup. There are a few options for who might be in (all speculation, really, on what the changed lineup might be).

But we just spoke to Jordan. When the Sixers lifted the curtain on practice, they were running through 5-on-0 sets and Brand was working with the second team, Jason Smith with the first team. Rodney Carney was also with the first team, Willie Green with the second. It’s tough to tell exactly what this stuff means because it might have been the first time all practice Brand was with the second team, so we had to ask Brand and Jordan.

The article continues

First we asked Jordan about the changes that will be made because of Speights’ injury (partially torn MCL, to miss 6 to 8 weeks). Jordan said, “We went through a normal practice today and we always change our lineups in practice. Certainly Jason Smith will get more time at center. Elton will get some time at center and Primoz will be activated so we think we’re pretty well covered.”We went through a normal practice today and we always change our lineups in practice. Certainly Jason Smith will get more time at center. Elton will get some time at center and Primoz will be activated so we think we’re pretty well covered.

Then we asked Jordan about Brand working with the second team. Jordan said, “We have him playing some five with the second unit.” Then we asked if that might mean a change to the starting lineup. Here’s where it gets interesting. Jordan said, “Ummm,” then there was a long pause and he smiled and said, “Who knows? Nothing is going to change until Wednesday, if there is a change.”

And onto Brand

Okay, that’s not definitive, but certainly that’s cause for raised eyebrows. We also talked to Brand. What he said seems more likely that there will be a change. Said Brand: “Today, he was talking about me working with the second group, getting some more center touches and stuff like that rather than playing with the fast-paced tempo of the first group, so definitely something is going to happen.”

Coach — minutes Coach, I can play more minutes!

Back to Jordan. He was asked if he felt Brand was a 40-minute a night player. His response, without hesitation, was “No.” Then, after being asked for more detail, he said: “He’s just coming off two years of injuries. He’s never had two years of injuries. So, he’s not a 40-minute player now. You can put him out there for 40 minutes, I don’t know how effective — I know he won’t be effective in those minutes because it’s a process with his recovery … I would put him in the game if I knew he was high level in the fourth quarter, but it’s just not there.”

Brand, for what it’s worth, said he still thought he was a 40 minute a night player.

Also, some interesting discussion on the defensive side of the ball about Speights, Young and Smith

Jordan acknowledged that Speights was insta-offense, but he said the team would make up for the injury on the defensive side of the ball. Jordan said Smith was a better defender than Speights and that the team needed Young to “defend and rebound better” — and be more physical. Basically, Jordan was issuing a team-wide challenge to step it up on defense and physically. Jordan said: “Our bigs don’t contain the dribble if they’re against small fours … hopefully [Smith] can put it together and contain some people on the dribble.”

Lots of great stuff in that report … what do we read into it/from it? Well, nothing for now. Just that Elton Brand may be heading to the second unit but that nothing is definite.

Short term

I think the Sixers will be at their most effective with Brand coming off the bench and being the fulcrum of the offense when he enters the game. Playing 28-32 minutes a night off the bench. So similar tick just alongside different players.

Long term

I think the Sixers are best off keeping the Iggy-Young-Brand-Dalembert unit together. Like last season, I think it’s too early to give up on a unit that has so much promise.

I also don’t like switching Young back and forth between the SF + PF positions because he hasn’t mastered either one yet. He’s solid at both rather than good-to-very good at one of them. I think he has a better chance at fulfilling his potential if given a set position for the duration.

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