Playoff Result: N/A
Key Additions: Nerlens Noel (draft), Michael Carter-Williams (draft), Tony Wroten (trade), Royce White (trade)
Key Losses: Jrue Holiday (trade), Andrew Bynum (free agent), Nick Young (free agent), Dorell Wright (free agent)
Projected 2013-14 Record: Oh god, the blood, why?
What to Expect: What an ironic time to write about the 76ers season, as they started their marketing campaign for this season. It’s, well… refreshingly honest:
— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) October 2, 2013
#TogetherWeBuild is a very blunt way to market this team, but one that fans won’t roll their eyes at. Why pretend that this roster is going to contend for anything that isn’t named Andrew Wiggins? Just consider who could possibly be the other starting wing alongside Evan Turner on the roster. With Jason Richardson possibly out for the entire year, the 76ers will turn to James Anderson, Vander Blue, Tony Wroten, Khalif Wyatt, Rodney Williams, or Hollis Thompson to be on the floor for the initial jump ball. That’s certainly something.
However this seems to be aligned with the teams plans ever since the Andrew Bynum experiment went south. Instead of remaining in mediocrity and being a continual first round exit, the team traded Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans for many’s number one prospect in this draft Nerlens Noel and the Pelican’s first round pick next year. This move could also go terribly wrong like the Bynum one, but has serious upside. Noel is a stellar prospect as a defensive rim protector, and expects to be a difference maker on that side of the court so long as his knee heals. Having the Pelican’s first round pick next year could also be very exciting. New Orleans expects to be a good not great team in the West, so the top 5 protection is likely not coming in to play. With the 2013-14 draft class filled with at least eight guys that have been given the title of “potential future all-star” the Sixers are one bad injury away from New Orleans giving them one of those guys. So why not trade Holiday at his highest value?
As for familar faces that should see major roles this season, Philadelphia only leaves us Thad Young, Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, and LaVoy Allen after Arnett Moultrie’s injury. Hawes and Allen are very bland, and shouldn’t be interesting points of the season at any point, but Young and Turner are going to be names you hear in the news all season. The underappreciated Thaddeus Young will be one of the first, and most constant, names that will be in potential trade talk. The value he could potentially provide for any team looking for a deep playoff run could easily be well worth the cost. As for Turner, Philly will most likely listen to any potential offer they get but the fact he is a restricted free agent by the end of the season is a bigger deal. What kind of offer he will get this offseason will be interesting next summer when he is coming off a season where is will have the ball early and often.
As for poor Michael Carter-Williams, fans will definitely have to be patient with him. As shown earlier with the potential starting wing options, this roster isn’t one that will ripen the talents of a pass first point guard quickly. MCW will be pushed to the brink this season with this roster, but as frustrating as it looks it could be very proactive for him. So long as he steps up to the challenge, this year should easily be the hardest of his career, and could force him to develop into a better scorer than we previously imagined. His talents will most certainly be stretched, but it could also stretch his ceiling just a bit higher than we thought on draft night.
Royce White could also make an apperance sometime, but it is more likely that happens in the headlines than on the courts sadly.
Matchup with the Hawks: Hawks are birds of prey, and they should pretty easily feast on this Eastern Coference bottom feeder. Atlanta should smoothly go at least 3-1 against Philly, and could easily go 4-0. Al Horford should also feast in this matchup, as nobody on the Sixers will have an easy time guarding him. Paul Millsap and Thad Young are checking each other will also be fun, as two undersized hustling forwards could cancel each other out.
As for the wings, Atlanta is clearly more talented on that front too. No matter what Evan Turner does, Kyle Korver should have plenty of room to roam around and hit his threes. Lou Williams will also be very capable of lighting it up off the bench, while whatever Sixers wing player attempts to guard him. Carroll will also be in full force, locking down Turner when they are on the floor at the same time and providing hustle plays on the other end.
As for point guard, well, Jeff Teague’s defense will particularly like this match up. With MCW, Darius Morris, and Tony Wroten as the opposing point guards, Teague will have little worry of his opponent dropping 40 or pulling up on the mid-örange jumper off the pick and roll. This is easily the best matchup Jeff will see all year. As for Dennis Schröder, these games will be more key in his progression. As Carter-Williams is a fellow member of the rookie class, it would be nice to see Dennis play well to assert his dominance. Otherwise this seems like a tasty set of games for him too, as the offensive leader for the Sixers should always be a player that will seem turnover prone this year. Dennis could potentially feast on opportunities to get steals this game. Don’t fret too much Michael, it all gets easier from here.