With the NBA season fast approaching, I figured I'd throw my two cents in on how I see things playing out. These projections were created using Wins Produced (WP) from the Wages of Wins Journal and The NBA Geek. To gauge how rookies and incoming international players perform, I used the amazing projections of Arturo Galletti. If you haven't read any of that stuff, you should. I march on with the confusing Philadelphia 76ers. Enjoy.
Philadelphia 76ers 39-43 (4th Atlantic)
TOP NINE PRODUCTION (numbers listed are 2011-12 WP)
|PG Jrue Holiday||3.6|
|SG Jason Richardson||3.2|
|SF Evan Turner||4|
|PF Spencer Hawes||2.7|
|C Andrew Bynum||9.1|
|F Thaddeus Young||4.8|
|G/F Nick Young||-2.2|
|F Lavoy Allen||2.1|
|F Dorell Wright||5.3|
This team vexes me. Trading Andre Iguodala for Andrew Bynum is seen by most as a huge upgrade, but I can't decide if I agree or not. On the one hand, both players are similarly productive, and the Sixers' roster is teeming with potential Iguodalas, while nearly no one in the league has an Andrew Bynum. Bynum fills a gaping hole in the middle of both sides of the floor for Philly, and moving Iguodala possibly frees up minutes for Evan Turner to finally start living up to his #2 draft pick status.
On the other hand, Iguodala was really good, and has been for his entire career. Turner, meanwhile, has gone from slightly below-average to slightly above-average, which is well-and-good, but which also comes nowhere near replacing Iggy. As for Bynum, he played the most minutes of his career last year, which is telling considering it was a lockout-shortened year and that he was suspended for the first four games of the season. To expect him to stay healthy through an entire season is wishful thinking, as the knee problems Bynum is already experiencing portend.
So with a hobbled Bynum, or even without him at all for any significant amount of time, what exactly are the Sixers other than a (much) worse version of themselves from the past few seasons? In addition to the loss of Iguodala, Philly also (bizarrely) amnestied Elton Brand in the last year of his contract following two productive, relatively healthy seasons so that they could sign Nick Young, consistently one of the worst players in the league. Young was signed to replace Lou Williams and Jodie Meeks, who together only provided some of the most efficient bench scoring in the league. In Brand's absence, coach Doug Collins is going to employ a dreaded Twin Towers lineup with Spencer Hawes lined up next to Bynum, but it is highly likely the duo sees the floor together in more than 30 games. Thaddeus Young has reached the point where he is what he is, which is a tweener forward best served coming off the bench against the certain lineups he can wreak havoc against, while Lavoy Allen proved his defensive mettle in last year's playoffs. Rookie Arnett Moultrie and the unkillable Kwame Brown also will be in the mix up front.
The starting backcourt should be a unit of strength, with Jrue Holiday settling in as a 2nd tier point guard and trade acquisition Jason Richardson eager to prove he still can be a 2nd tier shooting guard after escaping the Hell that was Orlando last season. Holiday better be well-conditioned, since the only other point guards on the roster are Royal Ivey and undrafted free agent Maalik Wayns (which is to say there really aren't any other point guards on the roster).
With or without Bynum, this roster is a mess. Everyone except Bynum and Hawes is best-suited to run up and down the floor, while the lack of outside shooting (Richardson and Dorell Wright excepted) will leave the lane congested whenever Bynum tries to go to work down-low. If a Bynum deal was a possibility, why let Meeks and Williams--you're two best shooters--go? This is a team with no identity, and unless Turner can join Bynum as a likely All-Star selection, I see what looked like a promising few years of playoff success following last year's run ending before it even starts.