Without Andrew Bynum, the Philadelphia 76ers were obviously going to struggle. That was evident through their first 49 games, when the team was 22-27 and outside the picture for the NBA Playoffs. But after losing their last six games, the Sixers are even further from the playoffs, sitting at 22-33, and everything seems to be falling apart even more.
Through their first 49 games, Philadelphia averaged 92.3 points and 41.7 rebounds per game while shooting 44.3 percent. Over their last six games, the 76ers have averaged just 89.3 points and 38.3 rebounds per game while shooting just 41.9 percent. They weren’t an offensive juggernaut to begin with, but it’s gotten worse as of late.
It hasn’t been much better for the Sixers on defense lately either. In fact, it’s been worse. For the first 49 games, Philadelphia gave up 95.2 points and 44 rebounds per game while letting their opponents shoot 44.5 percent from the field. That’s not great, but the 101 points and 44.2 rebounds per game and 49.2 percent shooting they’ve been allowing over their six-game losing streak is way worse.
The Sixers are in shambles as a team, even causing head coach Doug Collins to question his team’s commitment and effort after Tuesday’s loss to the Orlando Magic. So given their struggles and the fact that they are now five games out of the eight-seed in the Eastern Conference, what should the Sixers do now?
If they want to be smart, they should rest their star Jrue Holiday, make sure they get players like Bynum and Thaddeus Young healthy and, perhaps most importantly, they should develop some of the younger talent on their roster.
Instead of giving significant minutes to guys like Jason Richardson and Nick Young, who are who they are at this point, Philadelphia should look to develop their players with youth and room to grow like rookie Arnett Moultrie, Lavoy Allen and the newly acquired Charles Jenkins. They could even put Evan Turner in different sets and situations to see how he performs in a different role.
There really isn’t much left to play for this season, so why waste time playing guys who have already established their skills and identity in lieu of developing players that can contribute in the future? There’s no acceptable answer to that question because that’s what they should do.
Philly is in a bad spot right now and there really doesn’t seem to be a way to get out of it, even if Bynum were to return soon. They need to cut their losses this season and start focusing on the future of their team by getting young guys experience. Otherwise, this season could pretty much be labeled a waste of everyone’s time.