Centers have been a problematic area for the Philadelphia 76ers since the departure of Dikembe Mutombo years ago. Nerlens Noel’s recovery isn’t helping. Spencer Hawes looks like he’ll be the starting center, and the only problem is he’s inconsistent.
Hawes has finally come back down to his average form against the Brooklyn Nets after having a decent showing against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics. He had 17 points, seven rebounds and two blocks against the Celtics and 11 points and nine rebounds against the Thunder, but he only managed to grab five rebounds and score six points on an abysmal 1-of-7 shooting against the Nets. His lacking performance gave coach Brett Brown reason to cut his minutes.
Hawes’ inconsistency along with the rest of the centers on the roster is what will plague the Sixers all season. Even when Noel recovers, he will need time to adjust.
The inconsistencies have the Sixers constantly making moves, with the latest being waiving Tim Ohlbrecht and signing overweight, big Daniel Orton to replace him. Orton is just another big man the Sixers are experimenting with, despite being an upgrade over Ohlbrecht. He’s averaged 2.7 points and 2.2 rebounds playing for the Orlando Magic and Thunder the past two seasons.
Orton’s weight, 275 pounds, can be an issue so he may not make the final cut considering he’s battling Arnett Moultrie and Lavoy Allen who have guaranteed contracts and posted better stats. Center Mac Koshwal is also in the mix and showed improvement against the Nets grabbing four rebounds and scoring five points in less than five minutes. Kwame Brown is also recovering.
Allen, Moultrie and possibly Koshwal will share minutes at center until Noel is back, unless Orton plays well.
All signs point to Noel being the Sixers’ answer to the problems in the middle if he recovers and puts big numbers like he did at Kentucky. Until he comes back the Sixers will be rotating their starting centers.