Your Pregame Moment of Zen
The Sixer Outlook
This is one of those teams I just like watching for some reason (and it's not just because their SBN blog is awesome). The collection of players, the style of play, and the strange crappy-but-actually-vaguely-talented dichotomy are just really interesting.
At 7-15, they're more likely to land a Harrison Barnes than an 8th seed. But that didn't prevent them from nearly knocking off Boston on Thursday. I think they match up rather well with us at multiple positions.
The Sixer Players
It starts with Jrue Holiday. No, he can't really shoot the ball from anywhere outside of right next to the rim. Yes, he turns the ball over too often. But he's already a great passer and has the potential to be an elite defender. And he doesn't turn 21 until next June. He's a player that I was super down on during his rookie season; the more I think about it though, the more I realize that Jrue Holiday developing into an All-Star/borderline All-Star wouldn't be all that surprising.
Of course there's Iggy. He's having an off-year, largely due to a huge drop-off on his long twos (27% from 16 to 23 feet vs. 39% last year). If that evens out, his peripheral numbers seem largely constant. Unfortunately, acquiring AI (almost) certainly won't be in the Hornets' plans this year.
Then there's Elton Brand. He's not the same guy he was in Los Angeles half a decade ago, but he's also not the same guy Philly saw from 2008-2010. Brand is back to being an efficient scorer and an adequate rebounder (really good on the O-glass, mediocre on the D-glass). It really did feel like Brand was somewhat done, so his turnaround has been remarkable.
Off the bench, Thaddeus Young is having a fantastic season. At a 20.7 PER and 123 ORtg, he has a decent case as the team's most efficient offensive player. Lou Williams is perennially underrated- an inefficient scorer, but he sets up teammates well and never turns the ball over. I'm not sure what to make of the decline of Mo Speights, a guy I was super high on before the '08 draft. Maybe it's something of a Marcus Thornton situation (offense/defense). I really don't have anything nice to say about Evan Turner, so I'll leave him be. And our old friend, Dongaila, returns as well (presumably in a suit).
Finally, there's Jodie Meeks. Meeks is that guy you love to watch play college ball but that you never let yourself get too high on because, well, low-percentage, volume shooters don't make it in the NBA. But right now, Jodie Meeks is doing it. 82% of Meeks' shots come either at the rim or from beyond the arc (so Belinelli (70%) on steroids). He can shoot from basically anywhere on the floor with or without defensive pressure.
Go Hornets. Check out Liberty Ballers as well.