Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Rating the Sixers

By John McMullen

Philadelphia, PA (The Phanatic Magazine) - The Phillies are clearly the most talented team in Philadelphia sports but you can't help cringe at the karma emanating from Brad Lidge's spike. Meanwhile, Eagles fans are gearing up for their annual spring disappointment in free agency and the Flyers' faithful finally got a chance to step off the Ben Franklin Bridge when the team snapped a franchise-worst 10-game skid Monday.

Through it all, the one positive story in town comes from Ed Snider's red-headed stepchild -- the team no one cares about -- the Philadelphia 76ers. New general manager Ed Stefanski has convinced coach Maurice Cheeks to play an up-tempo game that has the surprising Sixers in the thick of the NBA Eastern Conference playoff race.

And, with 57 games under their belt, we also have a good feel for the players on the team. So, without further ado, that brings us to The Phanatic Magazine's annual Sixers player ratings.

5.0 - Superstar - Think Kobe and LeBron
4.0 - Consistent NBA All-Star
3.0 - Solid NBA starter
2.0 - Provides adequate NBA depth
1.0 - Should be in Turkey

1. - Andre Miller (3.5) - Miller is a prototypical point guard that makes things easier for everyone around him. He also has a knack for hitting the big shot. Perhaps, more importantly, he seems to sense when his young teammates are losing their collective heads and its time to call his own number. His biggest weakness is stopping the dribble penetration of quick guards.

2, - Andre Iguodala (3.4) - Iguodala's a little overrated. He's never going to be a star but he does a lot of things well. That said, there is room for improvement. He settles for the jumper far too often, he's lost his confidence at the charity stripe and his effort level can be best described as uneven on the defensive end.

3. - Samuel Dalembert (3.0) - Sammy's probably the most underrated Sixers player. His basketball IQ is never going to be great and it would be nice to see him hit the weight room harder while developing a go-to move on the offensive end. But, its not exactly easy to find a weak-side shot blocker like him. Dalembert is also an above-average rebounder and has developed a deft touch from the free throw line for a big man.

4. - Lou Williams (2.8) - The Sixers waited a year too long to get Williams into the rotation, He's already the team's most explosive scorer and is now finishing games. Lou still forces things too much and needs to take better care off the ball but those are things you only learn with consistent minutes.

5. - Thaddeus Young (2.6) - You hate to give Billy King credit for anything but he made the right choice with Young. Rarely do you see a 19-year-old kid exhibit such patience. Young never forces anything and let's the game come to him, reminiscent of a young Kevin Garnett. Thaddeus has a chance to be a real star in this league and I have a feeling he will be topping this list very quickly.

6. - Reggie Evans (2.5) - It's feast or famine with Reggie, a poor man's Dennis Rodman. Evans is one of the NBA's best rebounders and a pain in the rear for the opposition on the defensive end. The Sixers are one of the best rebounding teams in the league when he is on the floor and possess the game's best half-court trap. On the offensive end, you are playing four on five when Evans is on the floor.

7. - Willie Green (2.4) - Green is a one-dimensional player. He's a scorer but if things aren't falling for him, he's a detriment on both ends of the floor. Starting Green isn't the problem but Cheeks should have a quick hook on a daily basis.

8. - Jason Smith (2.2) - Nice draft pick who should be a solid rotational guy for years. He hit the rookie wall way too quickly, however. So, it would be nice if Smith works on his conditioning in the offseason.

9. - Rodney Carney (2.2) - Carney should be much higher on this list but the second-year pro just doesn't listen. Carney could be a top-tier defensive threat on the wing, igniting the fastbreak but he seems to sulk when he doesn't get touches on offense.

10. - Kevin Ollie (1.9) - Smart, disciplined point guard who takes care of the ball like its one of his kids. That said, Ollie just doesn't have the physical skill set to give you more than 10 minutes a night.

11. - Gordan Giricek (1.9) - Giricek is probably the team's best pure shooter but he just doesn't fit in with Stefanski's up-tempo plan.

12. - Calvin Booth (1.8) - Veteran shot-blocker who knows how to play NBA defense.

13. - Louis Amundson (1.5) - High energy guy that rarely sees the floor. Amundson is an above average NBA rebounder and can finish a little bit around the basket.

14. - Shavlik Randolph (1.0) - Shav was not an NBA player before a serious leg injury. BK's pet.

No rating - Herbert Hill - Let's see Hill take the floor before making any assessment.

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