Entering the 2012-13 season, the Philadelphia 76ers are faced with the challenge of replacing over half of their valued production (51% of the minutes played in the previous season have left town) and building around their front-court – a statement that probably still has yet to resonate in the minds of most Sixers fans.
The departures of Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Louis Williams, Jodie Meeks, and Nikola Vučević have been filled by Jason Richardson, Andrew Bynum, Nick Young, Dorell Wright, and Kwame Brown - respectively.
The most awkward development this off-season is that the Sixers lost their leading scorer Louis Williams to the Atlanta Hawks for less than 5 million a year and replaced the production with three players (Richardson, Young, and Bynum) that averaged more points-per-game than Sweet Lou last season. Added to the certain change in leading scorer, the Sixers are faced with replacing 52% of their points last season (and 50% of their field goal attempts).
Shockingly, Spencer Hawes led the team in rebounding last season; however, three of the next five have been sent out of Philly (a loss of 48% of their total rebounds from a year ago). This production will be easily replaced by Andrew Bynum, and even Kwame Brown - who equalled Hawes‘ rebounding production last season.
The biggest loss this off-season is the ball-handling ability of Andre Iguodala (the team’s leader in assists). This loss was failed to be replaced in the off-season, making it vital Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner increase their production.
The sad realization that Holiday and Turner are the only two on the roster that should be given serious minutes handling the ball make it a difficult task to predict Doug’s rotation. Turner only started 20 game last season, but, that was mostly due to Iguodala being in the line-up. Losing Iguodala seemed to be the necessary move in helping the development of Turner’s game; however, refusing to add another ball handler to the roster (Sorry, Royal Ivey and Maalik Wayns) may force Tuner to remain court-side until Jrue needs a break.
The two locks for the starting line-up go to Holiday at the one and Bynum at the five.
It appears as if Wright will be taking the role of Meeks and could potentially start the game at the three.
The off-guard spot will either be filled by Turner, Richardson, or Nick Young. I firmly believe Nick Young was signed to replace Lou Williams, and with Turner needing to back up ball-handling duties, look for Richardson to start.
The starting four spot will either go to Hawes or Thaddeus Young – with Lavoy Allen immediately off the bench. Being the team’s second highest paid player, it appears as if it is finally time for Young to maintain a starting gig; but, the fact that he has proven he can play top minutes and lead a initial charge off the bench is hard to ignore.
Projected Starting Line-up for the Philadelphia 76ers: