If someone tries to tell you that they saw the Philadelphia 76ers starting the 2013-14 NBA season with a 4-4 record and looking far from an easy win on a game-to-game basis and they have no proof that they said that, you have my permission to call them a liar straight to their face.
Hardly anyone could have predicted that the Sixers, a team that basically acknowledged the fact that they were going to be tanking for the draft this season, would look as solid as they have to start the year. A large part of that is due to a lot of surprising individual performances from players throughout the Philadelphia roster.
Obviously the play of rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams has been a clear surprise. Not many people projected the big guard to be as productive of a scorer as he has been early in the season. The play of Evan Turner has also been fantastic as he looks ready to earn a big paycheck this summer in free agency. However, Spencer Hawes might be doing just as much as Turner for his value in free agency.
Last year with the Sixers, the center Hawes had moments where he looked good, but was really hit-or-miss when you get down to it. He finished the year averaging 11 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 2.2 assists per game on just 46.4 percent shooting and 35.6 percent three-point shooting.
This year, though, Hawes is playing like no one could have expected him to. Before the Sixers’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, Hawes had averages of 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 3.1 assists per game on 55.1 percent shooting and 48 percent three-point shooting. He added to that with a nice showing against San Antonio, notching another double-double.
Hawes certainly isn’t what you’d call a franchise-center, but if you put him on a good team, he becomes a really interesting player. Ultimately, it will be interesting to see if he can sustain this level of play and what he will pull on the open market.