Philadelphia 76ers 2013-14 Preview

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Philadelphia 76ers

Sep 27, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel (4), small forward Evan Turner (12) and point guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) during a media day photo shoot at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Despite scoring fewer points than any NBA team, the 76ers finished just four games out of the playoffs. That says more about the Eastern Conference than the Sixers, though. This was a very bad team last year and could be even worse this season.

The Sixers traded away Jrue Holiday and lost Andrew Bynum (who didn’t suit up once for Philly) and fired head coach Doug Collins. They’ve hired Spurs assistant Brett Brown to take over the team and build a contender. That’s a tough task with this club but they have the hidden talent to build around. They won’t do much in 2013 but if Brown plays it right, this could be an interesting young team in a year’s time.

2012-13 Ranks:

Wins: 34

Points Per Game: 30th

FG%: 22nd

Points Allowed Per Game: ninth

Rebounds Per Game: 20th

Notable Additions: Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Royce White

Notable Losses: Jrue Holiday, Andrew Bynum

Point Guards: Michael Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten, Darius Morris – Grade: C+

Carter-Williams was the 11th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft after an impressive year in Syracuse. In his last season he averaged 12 PPG, 7.3 APG, and 5.0 RPG. At the same time, he was a terribly inconsistent shooter, nailing just 39 percent of his shots. He also averaged 3.5 turnovers per game, the last thing you need from your point guard. MCW is a project, not a draft pick ready to lead an NBA team on the floor. He has a ton of raw ability but his inconsistency and mental errors will drive Sixers fans nuts.

As a nineteen-year-old rookie in Memphis, Wroten didn’t get much playing time last season and shot a mere .384 when he did. He improved as the season went along though, shooting .433 after the All-Star Break. As a freshman in Washington, he played 30 MPG, putting up a strong 16 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.9 SPG, and shooting .443. There’s definitely talent there but at 20-years-old, he’s a work in progress.

Morris is a sleeper and could emerge as a real threat in the backcourt. The Lakers drafted him after he scored 15 PPG on 49 percent shooting in his sophomore year in Michigan, adding 6.7 APG. He spent most of his last two seasons on the bench and only shot 39 percent last season but he’ll get far more opportunities in Philly. At 22-years-old, he’s another very young kid who just needs some seasoning before he’s ready to (potentially) shine.

Shooting Guards: Evan Turner, Jason Richardson – Grade: C+

Turner was much improved in 2012 as he started every game and averaged 35 minutes per contest. He put up a solid 13.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 4.3 APG. His .419 shooting, however, ranks him 20th among full-time starting shooting guards, only ahead of Jordan Crawford, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, and Ben Gordon.

At 32, Richardson is in the twilight of his career but he still gave the Sixers 10.5 PPG in 33 starts last season. The problem is, he only nailed 40 percent of his shots. In his prime, he nailed 44-48 percent of his shots. He doesn’t offer much help in any of the other categories and the Sixers would be better suited to give the younger guys more minutes at Richardson’s expense. Still, his veteran presence is good too have on a young team like this.

Small Forwards: Thaddeus Young, James Anderson – Grade: B

Young was one of the more underrated forwards in the game last year, shooting an excellent 53 percent from the floor. That ranks him third among starting small forwards, only behind LeBron James and Kenneth Faried. He gave the Sixers 15 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.8 SPG, and barely turned the ball over. The one glaring hole in his game is his paltry 57 percent free throw shooting last season but he had routinely shot above 70 percent before last season.

James Anderson is another young kid who has never gotten a chance but, unlike the others, his rough shooting and lack of production elsewhere doesn’t give anyone much room for optimism. I don’t expect to see much of Anderson this season.

Power Forwards: Lavoy Allen, Nerlens Noel, Royce White – Grade: Depends on when Noel returns

Allen is another of Philly’s early-20s brigade, entering his third year in the league. He averaged just 21 MPG last season so he could see a larger role this year. Overall, he averaged 9.8 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 1.2 BPG per 36 minutes so there’s potential there but he needs a lot of development to be a productive power forward. There’s a reason the Sixers got Noel.

Noel is coming off an injury but he was the sixth-overall pick in the draft and came over in the trade that sent Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans. Noel was an absolute monster in his freshman year in Kentucky, putting up 10.5 PPG on 59 percent shooting and, more impressively, posting 9.5 RPG, 4.4 BPG, and 2.1 SPG. When he gets healthy, he could quickly become a force to be reckoned and a potential rookie of the year with but the injury concern remains.

Royce White was the Rockets’ 16th overall pick in 2012 but had quite a sad ordeal of a season as his anxiety disorder prevented him from traveling with the team and ultimately being part of it. He posted a strong 13.4 PPG, .534 FG percentage, 9.3 RPG, and 5.0 APG in his one year in Iowa so he certainly has the talent but it’s unclear what’s changed in his willingness to fly. White said he planned to join the team on their trip to Spain but the team decided to keep him in the States. That could be because they wanted to give him a break, or because they plan to cut him. Hopefully, White gets the chance.

Centers: Spencer Hawes, Kwame Brown – Grade: C

Hawes is a guy you don’t particularly want out there but he’ll get you through. He averaged 11 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 1.4 BPG but only shot .464, ranking 21st among starting centers, only ahead of Roy Hibbert. He did improve as the season went on, averaging 12.5 PPG and 8.5 RPG after the All-Star Break but still shot just .469. That’s right around where he is. A place-holder center until the team finds their real center of the future.

It’s unclear if Kwame Brown will be a part of this team after playing just 31 games over the last two seasons and just 12 MPG last year. Considering he wasn’t very good in his “prime”, I wouldn’t hold my breath on him putting it all together at 31.

Coach: Brett Brown – Grade: Time Will Tell

Brown coached in Australia before coming over to the Spurs. He also served as the head of player development for the Spurs before joining Greg Popovich’s coaching staff in 2007. It’s that experience in developing young talent that the Sixers hope to replicate with their team of kids in their early-20s. He has a lot of raw talent to work with but it will be a sloppy, inconsistent squad until he is able to mold something of them.

Team Grade: C

Igor Derysh is Editor-at-Large at XN Sports and has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sun-Sentinel, and FantasyPros. He has previously covered sports for COED Magazine, Fantasy Alarm, and Manwall.com.
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