Culture of Hoops

2013-14 NBA Season Preview: Philadelphia 76ers

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Two seasons ago, the Philadelphia 76ers came within a victory of playing for the Eastern Conference Finals. A team once headed in the right direction is in need of a compass to get off the road of futility. General manager Sam Hinkie and new head coach Brett Brown have been assigned as the men to lead a very young group one step at a time.

Here is a breakdown of the 2013-14 Philadelphia 76ers.

Most Important Player: Michael Carter-Williams
Evan Turner and/or Thaddeus Young may not survive the season here depending on how things play out, so I’ll go with MCW. The rookie is going to be tested right away by being named the starter. He will face some of the best competition at point guard in his own division (Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams and Kyle Lowry). Williams’ ability and willingness to grasp the NBA game from this position will help him down the line. This year it’s about learning from his mistakes and developing mental toughness.

X-Factor: Arnett Moultrie
If Moultrie can earn a starting role on this team it sets things up nicely when Nerlens Noel joins the team. Moultrie is a good rebounder and has the ability to score from the post. The 76ers have no problem with rebounding from the post — it’s points the team is lacking. I believe given the proper minutes, Moultrie can be that guy.

Rotations: The 76ers roster has more fillers than any fast food chain burger. They’re light at the guard spot with Evan Turner, Tony Wroten and Michael Carter-Williams. Jason Richardson is out for the foreseeable future so another guard will probably be brought on before the start of the season. Power forward Arnett Moultrie will battle Lavoy Allen for starter’s minutes. Arsalan Kazemi could become a fan favorite on his work ethic alone. Spencer Hawes will be the starting center for the fourth consecutive season. If you’re expecting to see Royce White, don’t hold your breath.

What Needs To Go Right: Absolutely nothing. The 76ers need to make their dreams of landing Kansas super-freshman Andrew Wiggins a reality. In order for that to happen, the losing culture in Philly must continue for another season—or more.

It’s Really Bad If: The 76ers have even the slightest hint of success. The current ownership isn’t smart enough to recognize fool’s gold. Team executives need to focus less on having so many trips down memory lane and give the fans something to look forward to.

Bold Prediction: There’s nothing to really go out on a limb for with the 76ers. Noel will probably be out of the lineup until early 2014. With this current roster, I can’t see 15 wins—a disgusting thought considering this was a team in the Eastern Conference Semifinals two seasons ago. This season is an 82-game audition before the curtain goes up next year.

With or without Andrew Wiggins.


Lavoy Allen, PF
Strengths: Reliable defender capable of guarding on the perimeter or in the paint. Decent rebounder.
Weaknesses: Does not look to score. Offensive repertoire is limited. Not as quick to the glass as he should be.
Season Prediction: As a possible starter, Allen will become more of an offensive threat by developing his low-post game. A nightly output of 9 points and 7 boards would be a quantum leap.

James Anderson, SG/SF
Strengths: Championship-level experience with the San Antonio Spurs. Has a professional approach to the game.
Weaknesses: Limited playing time.
Season Prediction: Anderson was handpicked by coach Brett Brown to join him in Philly, where he will get the opportunity to show if he is able to be a solid contributor at this level.

Kwame Brown, C
Strengths: Can contribute valued minutes off the bench at the 4 or 5 spot.
Weaknesses: Has completely lost confidence in himself as a player. Seems comfortable just collecting a check.
Season Prediction: More of what we’ve seen for the past 11 seasons.

Michael Carter-Williams, PG
Strengths: Tall, long point guard who will get to run the team early in his career.
Weaknesses: Replacing an All-Star point guard. Has to learn to guard smaller, quicker guards.
Season Prediction: Michael Carter-Williams is the team’s most important player this season. He has to grow as a point guard in this low-pressure this season.

Spencer Hawes, C
Strengths: Starts games off strong and can have big nights if he’s fed frequently. Decent low-post defender who’s not afraid to mix it up. Could be a double-double man.
Weaknesses: Shies away from above-average bigs. Fades for stretches when he isn’t involved. Should be a double-double man.
Season Prediction: Hawes has never had to worry about playing time in Philly, but he plays like it at times. With no pressure to win this season, the big man calms down and notches double-double averages.

Charles Jenkins, PG
Strengths: Solid backup who does not turn the ball over. Pass-first. Played in a high-speed offense with the Golden State Warriors. Nice size at 6’3″, 215 pounds.
Weaknesses: Mystery man, has not seen many NBA minutes.
Season Prediction: We will find out who Charles Jenkins is as a backup to starter Michael Carter-Williams.

Arsalan Kazemi, PF
Strengths: Great work ethic in college which should translate to the NBA. A rebounding specialist. Grabbed 45 boards in three NCAA Tourney games last March.
Weaknesses: Will have to raise his all-around game at this level.
Season Prediction: Kazemi has thick skin (was racially abused while at Rice University) which will be needed his first season in Philly. The fans will love his hard work—making him a fan favorite.

Arnett Moultrie, PF
Strengths: Displayed a strong will last year when he played well in the closing weeks despite being ignored most of the season. Nice offensive game to go with exceptional rebounding skills.
Weaknesses: Inexperience. How will he perform in extended minutes?
Season Prediction: Moultrie will be part of a solid big man rotation. He will average double-digit points.

Nerlens Noel, C
Strengths: Athletic rim protector, a defensive catalyst who can make a difference.
Weaknesses: Limited offensive game. Questionable timetable for return from knee injury/surgery.
Season Prediction: Noel returns to the team in January and gives fans a nice glimpse of what they can expect from him defensively. Think Theo Ratliff, just a tad better.

Tim Ohlbrecht, C
Strengths: Professional experience on an international level. Decent scorer and rebounder.
Weaknesses: Limited action with the Houston Rockets. Basically an unknown.
Season Prediction: Any contribution from Ohlbrecht may push the team to move Kwame Brown.

Jason Richardson, G
Strengths: Valued veteran presence. Three-point threat when healthy.
Weaknesses: Long in the NBA tooth. Injuries have taken their toll. Not the offensive threat he once was.
Season Prediction: Richardson will be out until sometime in 2014. He more than likely will ride off into the sunset if he cannot come back from this.

Evan Turner, SG/SF
Strengths: Playoff-tested, streaky player at both ends of the floor.
Weaknesses: Unmotivated. Sporadic play, hard to believe this was a National College Player of the Year.
Season Prediction: Turner has no choice but to play well this season. The motivation/fear of being traded should be enough to light a fire under him.

Tony Wroten, G
Strengths: Defensive-minded player who could develop into a stopper.
Weaknesses: Limited experience.
Season Prediction: Another player in a season-long audition to make the team.

Thaddeus Young, F
Strengths: Silent leader. Can be counted on to defend swingmen and forwards. Exceptional on the glass for a small forward. Never complained about coming off the bench.
Weaknesses: Has yet to develop a reliable outside shot. Can be out-muscled by bigger forwards. Dealing with fifth coach in seven seasons.
Season Prediction: Thaddeus will become more vocal and will average career highs in points and rebounds—asserting himself as the 76ers’ leader.

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