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Phrustrated in Philly

I have to confess... before the season began, I actually liked the Eddie Jordan hire. Follow, if you will, my reasoning:

  • Before Gilbert Arenas got hurt, Jordan's pro version of the Princeton offense had the Washington Wizards in the "teams on the rise in the East" discussion. And while the Wizards have been awful for the last couple of seasons, but they've also been stuck waiting for Arenas to return. Hard to blame that on the coach or the system.
  • In Philly, Jordan inherited a promising young score-first point guard in Louis Williams, a do-everything wing player in Andre Iguodala, talented youngsters with room to improve (Thaddeus Young, Marresse Speights)
  • And given the team's long-term commitment to their rehabbing power forward, Jordan would be sure to find ways to integrate Elton Brand in the offense more effectively.

And just to show you how serious I was... I invested heavily in the Sixers in multiple drafts. I various leagues, I own (or have owned) Williams, Speights and Young, and I made Iguodala a second-round pick.

Philly's slow start to the season didn't concern me much. New coach, new system, new point guard, I reasoned. I started to worry when Jordan started bouncing Elton Brand in and out of his starting five. But Speights was playing very well, so I was willing to let it go; maybe the team wasn't as committed to Brand as I assumed, maybe Brand was still limited by injuries more than we'd been told.

The second warning sign was the addition of Allen Iverson to the mix. But even that made some sense at the time -- explained by a long-term injury to Williams and the desire to sell some tickets.

Today, I'm starting to look at the Sixers the same way I view the team that used to play in Philly -- the Warriors. As in, "I have no idea what these guys are doing from night to night, and I don't want any of their guys on my team." Jordan seems to have hit full-on desperation mode, playing combinations of players seemingly at random, unable to find a starting five or rotation that works. The last time we saw such rotation chaos on a team that didn't involve Don Nelson, Larry Brown was coaching the Knicks and actively trying to get Isiah Thomas fired.

Can this team be saved? I have no idea. From a fantasy standpoint, I'm now hoping that one of the dozens of proposed trades involving Iguodala (to Cleveland? To Houston?) becomes reality, which might streamline the backcourt rotation to the point that Williams and Young will have value again.

A trade involving Brand or Dalembert could boost Speights' fortunes, but such a move seems far less likely at this point.

Until then, we're stuck in a holding pattern -- players like Williams, Young and Speights are too good to simply drop... for now. But if the trade deadline passes without a move and Jordan continues his lineup shuffles, that may change.

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