NBA Roundtable

2012 Team Preview: Philadelphia 76ers

In Season Previews on October 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Philadelphia 76ers

Starters

  • PG – Jrue Holiday
  • SG – Jason Richardson
  • G/F – Evan Turner
  • C  – Spencer Hawes
  • C  – Andrew Bynum

It’s unclear how effective this starting unit will be. Major questions about how well Hawes can transition to PF (I am more of a doubter than a believer). A pair of young players in Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner who will be looking to take a leap forward also. So I am not sure how to rate them just yet.

They have a top five center in Bynum, a top ten PG in Holiday, a middle of the pack SF in Turner, a below average but solid starter in J-Rich and I have no idea about Hawes. What that equals out into, I am not sure.

Andrew Bynum is the star player here. A top 20 player in the league. One of the best centers in the league. The 2nd best power based center behind Dwight Howard. Bynum is a very good defender/rebounder who uses his imposing size and length to great effect around the basket but lacks quickness/mobility and comfort (defensively) away from the rim. Offensively, Bynum relies on his power to score over opposing centers which works well for him because he is almost always the biggest/strongest player on the court.

Jrue Holiday is the next best player on the Sixers and a top ten PG in the league. Excellent size and athleticism. A high level defender and good rebounder. A good versatile shot-creator. Holiday can shoot from three point range, beat his man off the dribble, finish amongst the trees around the basket and has a very good midrange pull up jump shot. Difficult player to limit and is very good at limiting others. A smart floor general and solid playmaker. His assist numbers will increase back to that 6-7apg range with Iggy and Lou Williams now gone.

Jason Richardson is a tad below average as a starting two guard. A decent defender/rebounder and a capable offensive player with a strong perimeter jump-shot. His experience will likely nail him the starting spot. Has struggled to create his own offense in recent years. A so-so passer. Doesn’t create as many matchup problems as he used to.

Evan Turner is an above average defender, excellent rebounder, excellent ball-handler and very good passer/playmaker. His scoring, however, leaves a lot to be desired. He had a size advantage at shooting guard but the switch to small forward will take that away and instead give Turner more of a quickness advantage. That should be an improvement for him because Turner is more into dribble penetration and slashing than power moves around the basket. I think the move to SF could improve his scoring some. Still, an awful lot still to be done to show people he is anything more than a multi-dimensional role player.

Not convinced Hawes and Bynum can play together. Hawes is a high post center with so-so quickness/mobility. He has the skill-level to function away from the basket as a power forward and the post skills to score down low against many PFs offensively. Not sure he can defend the position at all on the other end of the floor though. With Bynum being a slowish center too, I worry about Philly’s team defense from the two big man slots. Hawes rebounding will take a hit too. Relies on height/length/position and struggles to explode to the ball. I am expecting a drop in rebounding from him.

I also worry about Hawes spending too much time in the high post spacing the floor for Bynum and taking too many low percentage jump shots also. Inefficient shots. Hawes isn’t a threat to put the ball on the floor so the offense could get stagnant between the two of them at times also. Bynum’s inability to provide adequate jump-shooting will likely limit Hawes’ forays to the low post as he did with Pau Gasol’s post game in LA.

If Hawes doesn’t work out as a starting PF, I’d like to see Lavoy Allen get the nod as a 15-20mpg starter with Thaddeus Young getting the majority of the rest of the minutes at PF. Then Philly using Hawes or Kwame as trade bait to find a better talent than Lavoy Allen to start at PF.

Reserves

  • PG – Royal Ivey, Maailk Wayns
  • SG – Nick Young
  • SF – Dorell Wright, Damien Wilkins
  • PF – Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen, Arnett Moultrie
  • C  – (Spencer Hawes), Kwame Brown

A strong bench. A high level backup SF/PF in Thaddeus Young. A very good backup center in Kwame Brown, a really good backup shooting guard in Nick Young and very good small forward in Dorell Wright. The one problem spot is the backup point guard role vacated by Lou Williams (Atlanta Hawks) but the rest of the bench is a very strong.

Thaddeus Young will be main reserve. I think he’ll be a very effective partner to the power based post play of Andrew Bynum.

Dorell Wright is a very good offensively orientated reserve forward. A quick forward with three point range, good ball-handling skills (slashing) and a little bit of playmaking. On the downside – and why he is a quality bench SF instead of quality starting SF – is that he is a lightweight physically and struggles defensively against the power and size of opposing small forwards. He is also a weak rebounder for a SF.

I have long thought that Dorell Wright’s best position in the NBA is primarily as a starting two guard. I think his size, length and quickness will make him a much improved defender/rebounder vs the small forward position. I also think he’d be a great fit alongside Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner on the perimeter with their size, athleticism and activity + a great fit alongside Bynum’s post game. For my money, Dorell Wright is Philly’s best option to start at the shooting guard position. I’d love to see that happen.

I was very happy to see Nick Young go to Philadelphia prior to Andrew Bynum’s arrival. I thought he was a perfect fit here as a starting two guard sandwiched between Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala and playing in a team that desperately needed a shot-taker / scorer. However, now with Bynum on board, a player who will be the new focal point of the team, is a so-so passer and a moody immature character at that … I am no longer convinced this is the great home for Nick Young that it once was.

Still, Philly will be a good enough place for Young. Just not a great one. Nick Young is a really good scorer and efficient weapon. I think he has developed considerably since his early days in Washington and become a much improved player off the ball + has developed his catch and shoot game running off of screens. This has allowed Young to spend (need) much less time on the ball to get off quality shot attempts which in turn has made him a lot easier to play with and more dangerous to play against. Nick Young has a lethal midrange game, a good perimeter game and can finish well around the basket. He doesn’t get to the FT line often enough though.

The rest of Nick Young’s game is lacking. He is an average man-to-man defender but struggles on team defense. He is a non-rebounder and non-passer. So overall, he contributes very little outside of scoring. But that is fine so long as he improves that team defense to a reasonable level and continues to be an effective scorer. As a $7-8 million a year player, that would make Nick Young a very effective scoring option on a contender someday soon.

Royal Ivey is a good defender/rebounder but very limited offensively. A non-playmaker, a dodgy scorer and has a weak jump shot. I haven’t seen any of Maailk Wayns but I hear he played very well in the Sixers first preseason game. Given Ivey’s weaknesses as a primary backup PG, I think there is a good chance someone can come in (maybe Wayns) and steal away those minutes from Ivey.

Kwame Brown is a very strong backup center. A 6-11 270lbs and possessing good quickness and strength, Kwame is an imposing physical specimen and provides great depth as a defensive anchor off the bench. A good defender/rebounder but a large liability offensively.

I would expect Spencer Hawes to take over the backup center minutes if he is unable to make it work as a starting power forward. Which in turn would make Kwame Brown (or even better, Spencer Hawes) an attractive trade asset.

Lavoy Allen is a good third string power forward. He has a decent midrange two point jump shot. Can play some defense. Is a below par but serviceable rebounder. I think he’ll make a good small minute starter (15-20mpg) if Hawes doesn’t work out as the starting PF (with Thaddeus Young playing 25-30mpg at PF and finishing games for Philly).

I thought Lavoy Allen struggled for large parts of the regular season last year but came alive in the playoffs. A little worried that his struggles will return and that the playoff performance was just a flash in the pan.

Arnett Moultrie is a rookie and an unknown at the NBA level. I have read about problems defensively and a lack of awareness as a team defender despite good physical tools. Sounds like similar problems as Marreese Speights had in Philadelphia.

Overall

The Sixers have plenty of questions to answer heading into this season. Namely how well their starting unit works together and whether or not their young perimeter guys (Holiday, Turner) can take a step forward. So it’s hard to pin them too hard.

I would expect them to return to the playoffs again next season. A low level playoff team at worst and a mid-level playoff team at best. I don’t see them as any type of title threat.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: