With the NBA season only a week away, we’re preparing to close out the Season Previews of the Atlantic Division with the Philadelphia 76ers on tap.
1. Will Michael Carter Williams be the 76ers starting point guard?
Michael Sykes: I think that he can be. He more than likely will not be good, but he’s their best option at this point. He doesn’t have good speed and is a very young player with a lot to learn, so I expect a lot of struggle from MCW this season. He’s a decent passer, but that isn’t going to cut it on this Philadelphia 76ers team.
Mark Puleo: Yes, simply because there’s no else worthy of doing the job. MCW will be thrown right into the fire and will need to learn on the fly.
Trey Adell: Just based off of looking at the Sixers’ roster, MCW will likely be the starter. This roster has little to no talent or depth at the point guard position.That’s something that they forfeited when they decided to send Jrue Holiday to New Orleans in exchange for Nerlens Noel. Carter Williams is an interesting prospect in that his length and size will benefit him tremendously defensively but he’s still a turnover prone point guard who needs to work on making the right passes and hanging onto the ball.
2. What do you look for from Brett Brown in his first season?
MS: I expect Brett Brown to establish a culture of having a hard-nosed, hardworking, lunch pail type of team that will at least play with effort every night. I think that Brown knows that this team won’t be too competitive, but he also needs to find out what players want to be around for the future.
MP: I think hiring Brett Brown was the only positive move Philly made this summer. After spending all those year under Pop in San Antonio, Brown is regarded as one of the best developers of young talent–the Sixers have youung talent that needs developing. This year will certainly be a rough opening act, but if the management is planning on sticking with Brown for years to come, he could become one of the best coaches around.
TA: Hailing from the prestigious coaching tree of Gregg Popovich, I expect at least some improvement from the infrastructure of the offense. More motion sets, pick-and-rolls, less mid range shots, etc. Doug Collins was notorious for his slow, questionable shot selecting teams and his offenses were extremely poor. Brown might be able to wring so more production out of guys like Evan Turner who suffered under Collins.
3. Will Thaddeus Young be a 76er by the trade deadline?
MS: Of course not. The Philadelphia 76ers are looking to start over. This isn’t because Thaddeus Young is some franchise changing player, but the 76ers already know what he is and what he’s capable of. He isn’t ideal for their future, so they can flip him and turn what they get back into something great for the future.
MP: I don’t think so. Young is one of the most athletically gifted players in the league and will be playing on a team that won’t have many other options (none actually) so he should see spiked stats. Like J.J. Redick last season, some team on the fringe will be looking for a second half spark, I expect Young to head West at the deadline.
TA: I’ll say no just because he deserves to be on a playoff team. He’d fit really well on a team like Houston in need of a 4 who can stretch the floor and do a lot of things on the court. If Philly is really tanking — which we’ll get into with the next question — then they will explore the possibility of shipping Young elsewhere
4. Tanking in the NBA: Hate it or love it?
MS: I think that, at some point, every organization has to think about rebuilding. Now, some go about it in different ways, but tanking is the most common and viable way to do so. I don’t approve of losing games on purpose, but what I can say that I approve of is dealing players for variable assets. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you are trying to win games. So as far as tanking goes, do I support it? No. But there’s nothing wrong with trading your best players in order to get something that helps build in return.
MP: As a fan of competitiveness, I hate tanking more than anything. An entire fanbase has to toil through a wasted season. But I also recognize the fact that it’s not the team’s fault. Because of the formations of super teams (see: Miami, Brooklyn, Houston), the worst place to be in the NBA is in the middle. Tanking has become a necessary evil.
TA: I’m very indifferent to tanking. I think if a front office decides that tanking is the best way to go for the future of the team then I’m all for it. I think with a team like Philly that has minimal assets and isn’t a big market for free agents then tanking is the optimal direction to go in.
5. If the 76ers get Andrew Wiggins–or any blue chip prospect in the draft–how long until they are relevant again?
MS: The Philadelphia 76ers are desperately in need of a franchise changing player–whether that be Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Julius Randle or whoever they may get. I think that if they can get their hands on a blue chip prospect, they’ll be back to relevance in two to three years. It takes a team to win games, but a great player can vastly increase the rate at which that happens.
MP: I think this question doesn’t depend on next year’s blue-chipper, but rather this year’s, Nerlens Noel. I still belong to the Noel-should’ve-been-picked-
TA: I guess it all depends on which of these prospects pan out. Drafting, as we know, is not an exact science. Front offices make mistakes, players get hurt and there are a myriad of factors that have to be considered. If Noel is able to stay healthy and they’re able to get a prosect like Wiggins or Randle then I think it’ll only be a matter of them developing correctly until Philly is back in the playoff picture.
6. How will the 76ers finish their season?
MS: They’ll be the worst team in the Atlantic division. There are too many questions about this team on both ends of the ball. They’re young, inexperience and just not up to par with the rest of the league. I’d be surprised if the Philadelphia 76ers won more than 20 games this season.
MP: No bueno. Muy mal. The rookie point guard + rookie head coach mixture is a historically terrible combination. Did I mention they also have Kwame Brown? Yeah, this team is going to be so bad, Kwame has been mentioned as a KEY RESERVE. Fifteen wins would be considered a success, expect to see a lot of Philly on the SportsCenter Not Top Ten.
TA: Their ceiling is the 14th seed in the East. They’re really that bad. You could talk me into the 13th seed but I really think that this team is clearly the worst team in the league. Hinkie has done a good job of stripping this team down to the bones in preparation for a tanking season — never thought I’d commend a front office for that. Even if they weren’t tanking this season there just isn’t much talent on this squad.
Editors Note: Mark Puleo would like to mention that the 76ers have Kwame Brown on their roster.
Enjoy your NBA season!