Watching Jrue Holiday run miles at high speed, lead his team in scoring and distribute to no one in particular brings back memories of Allen Iverson.
Not good memories, mind you.
This is not like watching Iverson make it work with Aaron McKie and Eric Snow, George Lynch and Tyrone Hill.
That 2000-2001 team had Dikembe Mutombo manning the middle, with contributions from Matt Geiger and Theo Ratliff. Even on nights when it struggled to score, that team could really defend.
There was Iverson, darting around the floor, trying to carry the team on his back and hoping someone, anyone, would run with him, the way Holiday does now.
Look at that 1997-1998 roster, though. Good luck.
Derrick Coleman brought it some nights, but certainly not if he did not feel like it. Tim Thomas was a one-dimensional offensive player whose one dimension (scoring) was terrible.
Clarence Weatherspoon might have given more, but he was traded midseason. Same with Jim Jackson, gone in a rent-a-player deal that got the Sixers 30 games of Joe Smith.
It all added up to a 31-51 season and a last-place finish in the Atlantic Division, a mere 24 games behind—wait for it—the Miami Heat.
Smash cut to 2013, and everything old is new again.
The .400 clip the Sixers are playing at puts them on pace for just shy of 33 wins. Then again, they have lost six in a row, and neither of the next two games (at Chicago, home against Golden State) feels winnable.
All-Star Holiday can only look around and wonder how it came to this.
Save the "they don't have Bynum" talk. Andrew Bynum, even healthy, would not have improved this team much beyond the .500 mark.
Not with Evan Turner shooting 42.5 percent from the field. Not with Thaddeus Young lingering around his career averages, not making any real progress toward being a 20 and 10 guy.
Even without Bynum and Jason Richardson, this Sixers team that is presently 22-33 is basically the same squad (less Andre Iguodala) as the one that took the Boston Celtics to Game 7 in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs last season.
Holiday, Turner, Young, Hawes, even Lavoy Allen, all of them played big minutes for last year's team.
This version does not figure to have that playoff problem this year. Just getting to the aforementioned 33 wins looks like all the Sixers can handle in 2013.
Especially when Holiday has to do it alone.
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