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Gonzo: Analyzing the 76ers with Pinckney

Watching sports for a living is a pretty sweet gig. Generally. For much of the season, the 76ers have been an exception to that rule.

Watching sports for a living is a pretty sweet gig. Generally. For much of the season, the 76ers have been an exception to that rule.

Ed Pinckney gets paid by Comcast, and in effect the team, to suffer through their games, bless his aching heart (and eyes). Nearly 25 years ago, he was a member of Villanova's national championship team. Now he's the color analyst for a club that's 12 games under .500.

While the NBA hosts its all-star weekend festivities in Dallas, we talked to Pinckney about the Sixers' season, what can be done to fix the franchise, and why he recently betrayed 'Nova Nation by wearing - gasp - a Temple jersey.

The Sixers have played better lately, but they're still only 20-32. What's been the biggest problem this year?

Overall team chemistry. Having guys really understand one another. Lou Williams, this is his first opportunity to get extended minutes. Elton [Brand] had to come off the bench at times. There are a lot of factors that contributed to the team getting off to a slow start. And the injuries really hurt.

Did learning a new offense slow the progression at all? How much responsibility does Eddie Jordan shoulder?

If you were to ask him, he'd probably say most of it. Whenever you're learning something new, there's a learning curve. But I don't think there's a coach in the NBA that runs the same thing every time. The great teams don't even run the same offense every night. If you polled coaches, you'd hear them say they have a skeleton for the offense but the skin is constantly changing.

The current odds for the Sixers to win the championship this year are 350-1. Not good. A lot of people, including me, want to see Ed Stefanski unload Andre Iguodala and parts for some expiring contracts and cap space moving forward. If you were the GM, what would you do?

If I were the guy making the decisions, Andre Iguodala's name wouldn't be coming up very often in trades. He's just way too talented. Look at his numbers across the board - scoring, points, rebounds. There aren't a lot of guys floating around like that.

I'm not sure if I would do anything, to be honest with you. Right now, this team has hit sort of a stride, and I'd want to see where they could go with it.

But there's a huge chasm between winning a few more games and securing a title. Do you really believe, if you leave this roster alone, that they're capable of winning a championship?

Reaching a championship, no. But, again, this team has only been together for a couple months. Short of getting LeBron James, who's contending for the Finals, Kobe Bryant, who's contending for a championship - and they're not getting Dwyane Wade or Dwight Howard, either - how do you build for a championship through trades?

That's the rub. They're damned if they do, damned if they don't.

Right. Right. So, as a coach, if you don't have any of those players, the other alternative is to develop the ones you have.

One of the players they have is Allen Iverson. How much longer can you see him playing?

I personally would love to see Allen productive on a team, preferably the Sixers, going forward. He's obviously not the Allen Iverson of old. I would enjoy watching him contend for a championship, but I don't know if he would ever want to come off anyone's bench. That's a question to ask him at the end of the season, I guess.

Before A.I. backed out of the All-Star Game for family reasons, there was some controversy about whether he should play. Does the fan voting process need to be changed?

I think there's got to be a player element to it, certainly. The guys the fans want to see should be there, but the guys on the court are judging their peers. You get more of a true read on who should be in the game and who shouldn't if the players are involved.

What's it like working with Mark Zumoff? He's a high-energy kind of guy. Do you have to sit a few feet away so he doesn't accidentally catch you with an elbow when he leaps up to unleash one of his exclamations?

Right now, I'm [ticked] at Zumoff. I lost a bet to him. I took the Colts to win the Super Bowl. I had to wear a Temple jersey, he bought an official Temple jersey, and I had to wear it to a home game. The next night we played Toronto, and Alvin Williams asked, "What the hell are you doing wearing a Temple jersey?" I told him it was a long story. I have to get Mark back for that.

You're part of the Comcast SportsNet Family. They're running a Valentine's Day promotion where you can ask guys like Marshall Harris and Derrick Gunn questions on the Web site. Would you take relationship/love advice from anyone there?

Oh my God. [Laughing/coughing fit lasting a few seconds.] That's hilarious. I'm going to kill those guys when I see them. Yeah, I think I'd have to pass on that.

Smart man.

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