2010 Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview
Last Season: The Sixers are coming off an awful season in which they went 27-55 and finished in fourth place in the Atlantic Division. It was a trying season for Sixers fans and it became clear that changes had to be made. Following the season, Eddie Jordan was immediately fired. The Jordan firing was written on the wall and had been speculated since the halfway point of the season. It was a dark and dismal season, but there was a very encouraging sign. Rookie Jrue Holiday came in as a raw point guard needing to expand his skill set. Holiday played very well down the stretch and showed that he is the future at point guard for the Sixers. He averaged 8.0 points-per-game and 3.8 assists-per-game. Holiday is an effective floor general and should continue to improve in the 2010-2011 season.
Coaching Change: The Princeton offense is finally in the past. The Jordan firing left the organization with the task yet again of searching for a new head coach. The Sixers brass wanted an experienced coach that could work with this young group and improve their game. They decided to go with former Bulls coach and NBA analyst Doug Collins. Collins is a former four-time NBA All Star, so it’s clear that he understands every aspect of the game. He has vowed from the beginning that he aims to work very hard with swingman Andre Iguodala and try to take the superstar’s game to the next level. Collins seems to be very keen on defense and that is something that the Sixers need work on. He is a welcome change and brings a great attitude to the city of Philadelphia.
Key Arrivals: In a summer that was dominated by “The Big Three” in Miami, the Sixers weren’t very active in free agency. However they were quite active in the trade market. In an unexpected move, they shipped offensively-inept center Samuel Dalembert to the Sacramento Kings for center Spencer Hawes and veteran small forward Andres Nocioni.
Dalembert was a player that just never seemed to fit in Philadelphia. He is a tremendous rebounder and shot blocker but could never contribute on the offensive end. A change of scenery would do him good. On the other hand, Hawes is a nice pickup for the Sixers. While he is not the defensive standout that Dalembert was, he provides some much-needed offense from the center position. He is a 46.8 percent career shooter which is very respectable for a big man. Hawes will step back and attempt the occasional three and will hit some of those shots. Nocioni is a solid veteran pickup who can be an asset to the Sixers. Nocioni will be the sixth man off the bench this season. He can spell Iguodala and Thaddeus Young. He is a fairly solid shooter and can bring veteran leadership to the team.
The Sixers also acquired forwards Craig Brackins and Darius Songalia from the New Orleans Hornets for guard Willie Green and forward Jason Smith. It was basically a salary dump for the Hornets and they wanted a backup point guard for Chris Paul. The Sixers were able to add some size in the frontcourt. Brackins is a solid addition to the team. He was the 21st overall pick in the draft this season and was a star at Iowa State for three years. He has huge potential to be a good power forward in the NBA. If nothing else, he can be an admirable backup to Hawes.
Perhaps the biggest arrival was the drafting of Evan Turner with the second pick in the draft. This kid does it all. He scores, rebounds, and dishes out assists. He is a complete player and will be a breath of fresh air for Sixers fans. Turner averaged 20.4 points-per-game, six assists-per-game, and 9.2 rebounds-per-game in his junior season at Ohio State. Turner has the potential to be an absolute stud in the NBA. He could be a dark horse for rookie of the year. Turner paired with Iguodala could give the Sixers a high flying offense this season.
Season Prediction: 36-46 (3rd in Atlantic Division)
The Sixers aren’t quite ready to compete in the Eastern Conference. Doug Collins will bring a new attitude to the Sixers and should have them playing hard. The Sixers could be a young and exciting team this year. Turner will bring more fans out to the arena and should give Sixers fans something to look forward too. They are a few years away from contending but Collins should have the Sixers moving in the right direction.