Team Name: Philadelphia Sixers
Last Year’s Record: 41-41 (2nd, Atlantic Division)
Head Coach: Eddie Jordan
Comings: Jason Kapono, Rodney Carney, Primoz Brezec, Royal Ivey and Jrue Holiday (no. 17).
Goings: Andre Miller and Reggie Evans.
Blogger Thoughts, Jordan Sams of Liberty Ballers:
I predict the Sixers go into the Eastern Conference playoffs as the fourth or fifth seed, and advance to the second round for the first time in seven seasons. When healthy they will be one of the top 5-10 teams in terms defense and rebounding. Combine that with Eddie Jordan’s intricate Princeton Offense and big season awaits Andre Iguodala and the Philadelphia 76ers.
On the Nets:
It’s hard enough to follow one team’s every move, so when it comes to NBA teams not named the Sixers, I know nothing. Based on my gut feeling, I think the Nets will be mediocre — not as bad as some think, but not good either. I also think Courtney Lee will emerge as a borderline “star” in this league.
Comparing the Starters:
Starting PG – Lou Williams (12.8 pp., 3 apg, 16.39 PER) vs. Devin Harris (21.3 pp., 6.9 apg, 21.65 PER): With Andre Miller leaving the Sixers, Lou Williams is the de facto starter at the point. While he was an instant-offense type off the bench last year, he’s not the best shooter or passer, only averaging about 5 assists per 40 minutes last season. Reports on his defense have been a mixed bag though opposing point guards did average a 15.4 PER and an effective field goal percentage of .464 percent when he was on the court last year.
Advantage: Nets. It’s unknown how Williams will adapt in a full-time role with the Sixers next season while Harris is a more versatile scorer, a more effective passer and a better defender.
Starting SG – Andre Iguodala (18.8, 5.3 apg, 18.49 PER) vs. Courtney Lee (8.4 pp., 1.2 apg, 10.78): A great defender and a terrific finisher around the rim (68 percent field goal percentage on inside shots), Iguodala is an all-around talent. The biggest hole in his game in his long-range shooting. Still, with the Eddie Jordan Princeton-style offense, Iguodala should be able to excel and maybe make an all-star team this season.
Advantage: Sixers. Iguodala may be one of the league’s most underrated talents. Shooting woes aside, he’s an effective scorer and more dynamic and versatile on the defensive end than Lee.
Starting SF – Thaddeus Young (15.3 pp., 5 rpg, 15.4 PER) vs. Chris Douglas-Roberts (4.9 ppg, 1.2 apg, 12.22 PER): Young is one of the league’s up and coming forwards. He’s quick and athletic and has a nice jumper, hitting 47 percent of his long two-pointers last season. ESPN’s John Hollinger projects his PER will improve by nearly 3 points this coming season to give you an indication of his believed potential. He’s not the best rebounder for his position, and considered a bit of a twiner on the defensive end – not quick enough to guard threes and not strong enough to guard fours.
Advantage: Sixers. Young will be an interesting player to watch this season as the departure of Andre Miller makes Young the Sixers’ no. 3 scoring option.
Starting PF – Elton Brand (13.8 pp., 8.8 rpg, 14.65 PER) vs. Yi Jianlian (8.6 pp., 5.3 rpg, 10.98 PER): Brands game seemed to fall off a cliff last year, as he had a hard time adjusting to Philadelphia’s running offense before getting injured in December and having shoulder surgery. Once one of the game’s best power forwards, it’ll be interesting to see if Brand can have a bounce back season. The Sixers played much better after he was out of the rotation last season, so one has to wonder how good Philly can be if Brand ever regains his old form.
Advantage: Sixers. The drop-off for Brand last season was totally alarming and I’m not convinced that all will be right with him for this season. Still, Yi’s ability to improve is still a huge uncertainty, Brand gets the edge here, but not as much as you might think on first blush.
Starting C – Samuel Dalembert (6.4 pp., 8.5 rpg, 13.22 PER) vs. Brook Lopez (13.0 pp., 8.1 rpg, 17.94 PER): Dalembert is a good shot-blocker and rebounder but doesn’t really excel at any other part of the game. In fact, he’s done a better job giving the ball away to the other team than to his own teammates. He had a league worst assist ratio 2.9 and he turns the ball over on 18.8 percent of all of his possessions.
Advantage: Nets. A few seasons ago, Dalemeber was evolving into an above average center, and one of the better big men in the undersized east, but he appears to be back on the decline and his great limitations to his game where Brook is better all-around.
Bench: Royal Ivey is a below average backup point guard. Jrue Holiday was considered one of the five-best recruits when he signed with UCLA last year but he’ll likely be raw and unpredictable in the NBA. Willie Green is a decent two-point shooter but not much else. Jason Kapono will improve the team’s three-point shooting. Jason Smith is coming off a torn ACL injury in his left knee, but had a promising 2007-08. Marreese Speights was instant offense off the bench and had a PER of 18.01 off the bench last year. Primo Brezen has size but not much else as a backup center.
Advantage: Nets. Speights is a great find for the Sixers but there’s not a lot else there that blows me away. Give the Nets the advantage for overall depth, especially in the backcourt.