Philadelphia 76ers Testing The Superstar Argument

By Frank Benditt III

The Philadelphia 76ers are finally getting some national attention after being in first place in the Atlantic division.  Boasting an impressive 17-7 record, the 76ers are a different breed of NBA team.  How can a NBA team sustain such a winning record without having an elite player?  Believe it or not, it can be done in today’s NBA if you consistently bring maximum effort, play as a team ‘the right way’ (Larry Brown speak) and place your focus on defense.  Behind head coach Doug Collins, the Sixers are doing just that.

The 76ers are a young team, however, they bring maximum effort every night.  In a league where teams often take games off, the 76ers refuse to do so.  In a shortened NBA season, the Sixers youth serves them well.  Doug Collins expects players to leave it all on the court, every game.

Not having the acclaimed superstar, the 76ers manage to share the scoring responsibility.  They execute their offense more like a college team, moving the ball around for the right opportunity to surface.  The Sixers are the only team in the NBA that has seven players averaging double-digits.  Their leading scorer, shooting guard Lou Williams (15.1 points per game), comes off the bench.

The hallmark of the 2012 76ers squad is their tenacious defense.  Through 24 games, the Sixers lead the NBA in points allowed per game at 86.5.  The Sixers players have great length, which often times creates match-up problems for opponents.  Their tight half-court defense creates fast-break opportunities.  When in transition, the Sixers are at their best.

Doug Collins is proving to be one of the best coaches in the NBA.  It is clear that the team buys in to his demeanor and coaching style.  Against lesser teams, the Sixers are dominating.  Against the leagues better teams, minus the Heat, the 76ers are closely competing.

Would the team be better off if they got a sure-fire superstar, ie. Dwight Howard?  That depends on what would be sacrificed in such a deal.  Right now, the 76ers are bringing pride back to a basketball starved city.  On top of that, the Sixers are just plain fun to watch.


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