Predicting the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2013-14 Regular Season Roster
Predicting the Philadelphia 76ers' Regular Season Roster
Oh ye gods of basketball, why doth thou torment the Philadelphia 76ers fan base with such glee? Last season's construction of the Philadelphia Sixers was suppose to be a lock to make the playoffs. They looked great on paper. However, adding the term "on paper" to the preseason description of any franchise in any sport is tantamount to condemning said squad to the gaping maw of the draft lottery, but with names like C Andrew Bynum, blossoming point guard Jrue Holiday, SF Evan Turner and SG Nick Young on the roster at the start of the season, any observer who is honest would have laughed off any talk to the contrary.
On paper, they were the real deal. Too bad actual games are not played in two dimensions or else they would have won a championship. No, the real world has three dimensions and said dimensions come with injuries, underachieving players and rosters weighed down from making any mid-season acquisitions because they were shackled with enormous salaries.
Of the aforementioned names, only Evan Turner remains on a roster that has been entirely revamped. Though all of the Sixers' promotional copy is full of glowing praise for the young team and its brand-spanking-new first round draft pick C Nerlens Noel, the reality might be as hard for fans to swallow as a dumpster juice milkshake (mmmm ... putrid!). In this slideshow, I will attempt to predict those players I feel will make the roster, breaking down their relative skill sets and how they blend with the overall team dynamic.
Ricardo A. Hazell is a freelance sports writer for Rant Sports based in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter at NikosMightyDad or add him to your network on Google Plus.
At 6-foot-6 tall, Michael Carter-Williams would immediately be one of the tallest point guards in the NBA on opening day and while it is nice to be tall in the L, skills are what pay the bills. Carter-Williams grew up a fan of Jason Kidd and Gary Payton, and has said repeatedly that he will place an emphasis on defense. Carter-Williams is also projected to be an exceptional rebounding point guard because of his physical dimensions and his athleticism as well. Those same attributes will help him with his passing, which is being called next-level by some analysts. His jump shot was a bit erratic while at Syracuse but showed signs of improvement during the preseason.
Back Ups: Tony Wroten Jr and Darius Morris
James Anderson may finally get a real shot at showing the world what he can do after being cut by the San Antonio Spurs , Atlanta Hawks and the Houston Rockets in his young career. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy can shoot the 3-point shot, can get to the basket and can finish above the rim. Defensive intensity and ball-handling might be somethings he needs to work on if he's going to stick as a starting guard in the NBA. This may be his last real chance to prove that he can run with the big dogs on a night to night basis.
Back ups: Khalif Wyatt and Vander Blue
Spencer Hawes did his dead-level best to fill the hole in the paint left by the absence of the Sixers' would-be low post savior Andrew Bynum. While Hawes doesn't do any one thing great, he is equally skilled at scoring, passing, rebounding and interior defense. Last season saw him record a line of 18 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and seven blocked shots during a game against the Indiana Pacers, making him the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon to put up such a line. It's pretty safe to say there are no other centers on the Sixers' roster that are flat-out better than Hawes. He will likely start early on, but if Nerlens Noel begins to impose himself on the NBA level after he returns, Hawes will likely see his minutes shrink as the season progresses. Or, the Sixers may incorporate a twin towers lineup with Noels at power forward and Hawes at center.
Back Ups: Nerlens Noel and Kwame Brown
Thaddeus Young has been playing small forward and power forward his entire career, but appears to be a lock to play power forward for the majority of the season especially since PF Lavoy Allen's growth appears to have leveled off last season. Though he's only 6-foot-8, Young is plenty strong and can score from the low post, but his 3-point field goal percentage has steadily decreased over the years. He does face problems with power forwards who like to post up with their back to the basket, but how many are there in the NBA nowadays? Maybe five or six? Young is also fast enough to beat other big men down the floor on the break, and is a problem off the dribble as well.
Backups: Arnette Moutre and Arsalan Kazemi
Paging Evan Turner, paging Evan Turner. It is now time for you to have a breakout season and show the Sixers nation you are the type of player who is capable of carrying a team -- even if it is only in stretches. Turner averaged a healthy 13 points, six rebounds and four assists last season on a team where his touches and growth as a go-to-guy were somewhat usurped by PG Jrue Holiday and veteran SG Jason Richardson. This year, he should build on that and my best-case scenario has him averaging close to LeBron James numbers as far as boards and helpers are concerned. His points per game average should be around 19. We can expect a decrease in shooting percentage as his shots increase and teams key in on him defensively. This is it, kid! Get in there and show 'em what you got. Most of Philly would rather see you gone, but I have faith in you.
Backups: Hollis Thompson and Royce White