Thursday, April 5, 2012

Remember Us?

Remember us?

Ever since Spencer Hawes returned to the lineup on a regular basis last month, Doug Collins has completely forgotten that rookies Nik Vucevic and Lavoy Allen exist, even as Hawes struggles with consistency and the Sixers continue to get pounded inside. Just take a look at the rebounding numbers since Hawes' return.

99-78 loss to Toronto: Raptors 46 rebounds, Sixers 29 rebounds — Allen and Vucevic, 3:05 of garbage time each

99-93 loss to Miami: Heat 43, Sixers 38 — Allen and Vucevic, DNP each

95-90 win over Atlanta: Hawks 35, Sixers 41 — Allen and Vuc, DNP each

97-76 loss to Washington: Wizards 52, Sixers 38 — Vuc 9:28, Allen 3:46 of garbage time

103-85 win over Cleveland: Cavs 44, Sixers 43 — Allen 2:23, Vuc 1:27

93-76 loss to San Antonio: Spurs 46, Sixers 47 — Allen DNP, Vuc 12:44

99-86 win over Boston: Celtics 35, Sixers 46 — Allen and Vuc, DNP each

82-79 loss to New York: Knicks 47, Sixers 39 — Allen and Vuc, DNP each

105-80 win over Charlotte: Bobcats 31, Sixers 51 — Allen 1:55, Vuc 11:04

89-80 loss to Chicago: Bulls 53, Sixers 39 — Allen DNP, Vuc 14:59

In the past 10 games, as Hawes has returned and Allen and Vucevic have seen their time steadily and then infinitely diminish, the Sixers are 4-6. During that stretch, they have been abused in the paint by damn near every opponent and have been out rebounded 432-411. In the six losses, that discrepancy is even greater, being outworked on the boards 287-230. And time and time again, the opposition has had little trouble owning the paint. Yet Doug Collins never even gives his rookie bigs a look, in fact diminishing their time as a reward for all their hard work in keeping the Sixers afloat during Hawes' absence. It makes no sense at all, and honestly, the only logical conclusion is that Doug Collins is doing a terrible job right now.

What? No, I'm not putting you in!

I mean, in a crucial game agains the Knicks, New York took over in the paint in the second half. Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler owned Elton Brand and Hawes inside. Naturally, with those two rendered ineffective, Doug would turn to Vucevic and/or Allen, right? Wrong. Neither one saw the floor for a single second.

In an embarrassing, inexcusable blowout loss to the Wizards last week — by the way, that's the most disturbing trend for the Sixers, losing badly to bad teams, something they never did early in the season — the Sixers were destroyed on the glass 52-38, as Hawes and Brand got eaten alive inside by Nene and Jan Vesely. Yet Nik saw only 9 minutes and Lavoy less than 4.

Two night ago against the Heat, Udonis Haslem simply outworked Hawes and Brand on the boards, and that duo was horrendous guarding the pick and roll. Allen and Vucevic both never saw the floor.

And last night, as the Sixers got undressed and dismantled by a terrible Toronto team, Lavoy and Nik got nothing but garbage time even as Ed Davis was collecting 14 boards and the Raptors were owning the glass. Even though Spencer had a near double-double and Brand was excellent offensively, the Raptors owned the interior, out rebounding the Sixers by 17 and easily cursing to victory.

Now listen, I'm not delusional enough to think that Vucevic and Allen are some cure-all or big man saviors for this team. Hawes and Brand are better than both of them, and they should see the floor more than the green, raw rookies — but Hawes and Brand aren't good enough to be playing the entire game without hurting the team inside anymore. They just aren't. Vucevic and Allen are young guys who showed a lot when they were given the opportunity, and now, even as the Sixers are struggling as a team and really struggling on the inside, Doug isn't giving them a chance at all. It's as if he's completely forgotten they exist, and at the same time, the Sixers seem to have completely forgotten how to win consistently.

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