Despite losses, the Sixers showed resilience on the road
The Sixers on Wednesday waived Kwame Brown (left) and Darius Morris (right) and signed guards Elliot Williams and Lorenzo Brown.
Each week we'll ask questions about the Sixers to our basketball analysts and see what they have to say.
Running the Give and Go this week are CSNPhilly.com Sixers insider Dei Lynam, CSNPhilly.com columnist John Gonzalez and CSN producer Sean Kane. Let's get started:
What do you make of Sixers releasing Kwame Brown and Darius Morris?
Lynam: The cutting of Kwame Brown was, for me, long overdue. He should have never been given a player-option for this season, but that was the old regime’s mistake. I was surprised Brown made the roster out of training camp, not just because he was injured yet again, but also because fitness has never been his strong suit and it is of the highest priority under head coach Brett Brown. If Brown brought the kind of leadership that Tony Battie once did, I would have understood him staying on the roster. That certainly wasn't the case. Letting Brown go was the right move, just later than expected.
Darius Morris is a nice player, but after Tony Wroten proved he is more than capable of being a backup point guard or shooting guard, Morris became expendable. Brett Brown needed a longer perimeter player who could play the small forward position more than he needed a third point guard. Time will tell if Elliot Williams or Lorenzo Brown can fill that need.
Gonzalez: Kwame Brown was useless -- unless you count eating free team meals and staying in nice hotels as a skill set. The joke was that he picked up his player-option for the second year the moment he signed with the Sixers. (Uh, yeah, you can just go ahead and put me down for that second year right now. Thanks. ... Now then, good sir, where's the buffet?) At some point, the Sixers needed to get a guy who would take up space on the floor instead of just on the bench. As for Morris, he was a less offensive placeholder, but a placeholder nonetheless.
Kane: The decision to cut Kwame Brown was an obvious one and should have been done before the season. In the litany of poor personnel decisions made by Doug Collins during his three seasons in Philadelphia, giving Brown what amouted to a two-year contract is at the top of the list. The numbers are laughable -- the Sixers paid Brown $6 million over two years to play 22 games in which he averaged 1.9 points and 3.4 rebounds in 12.2 minutes. Collins and Michael Jordan made a colossal error taking Brown with the first pick of the 2001 NBA draft. And Collins -- in his supremely misguided overconfidence -- refused to admit his mistake and continued to think he could turn Brown into that All-Star he always believed Brown would be.
Waiving Morris did come as somewhat of a surprise. He was giving the Sixers serviceable minutes off the bench. But with the return of Michael Carter-Williams from injury and Wroten locking down the backup point guard spot, Morris' minutes figured to dwindle. Time will tell how Williams and Lorenzo Brown fit into Brett Brown's plans.
What was main reason for Sixers’ 0-3 road trip?
Lynam: The absence of Michael Carter-Williams. Wroten was great filling in for the rookie point guard, but this team’s depth is limited. Taking any starter out of the mix is just too costly. The Sixers rank 25th out of 30 teams in bench production. With Carter-Williams sidelined, the bench scored seven fewer points than its season average.
Gonzalez: We'll throw out the Dallas game because they were in it and it was relatively low scoring (for them). In the other two, the defense was suspect. The Sixers play at the fastest pace in the NBA. They average 99.5 possessions per 48 minutes. That's the most in the league. Some nights that works for them -- and some nights, when the other team has better personnel, they get exposed. Atlanta exposed them. Anthony Davis and the Pelicans definitely did the same.
Kane: With the exception of the blowout loss in New Orleans, the Sixers failed to execute down the stretch. They led the Hawks at halftime last Friday and trailed by just four early in the fourth quarter but had no answer for Jeff Teague, who ended up with a career-high 33 points. It was a similar story Monday in Dallas. The Sixers led at halftime, only to watch Monta Ellis score 13 points during a critical third quarter in which the Mavs outscored the Sixers by seven. The Sixers still had a chance to win in the fourth quarter before being undone by horrendous free-throw shooting and a handful of missed layups.