08/12/11 1:17 pm EST
As they stand right now, the 2011-12 76ers — if they ever take the court next season — have some very obvious issues. Finding a big man in the middle who can contribute nightly and doing a much, much better job on the defensive boards would be two items at the top of that list.
Still despite the above ills, in our collective opinions it is NOT unreasonable to think that in this upcoming season the Sixers could win 48-50 games and a playoff series.
Some of us here at Philadunkia would be be as bold as to say that anything less from the 2011-2 season is unacceptable.
However, there is one issue on the Sixers roster that is being overshadowed by the more pressing problems mentioned above. It is possible this one underlying issue could derail a 50-win season for the Sixers next year. The problem we are talking about is, ‘What do the Sixers do at the two-guard spot in 2011-12?’
So the question put to the scribes here at Philadunkia was, ‘Can last year’s starter Jodie Meeks supply enough game from the 2-guard spot to help the Sixers reach the above goals in 2011-12?’
If your answer was “No”, then our writers were asked to explain their ideas for what should the Sixers do to solve their 2-guard issue so that they can achieve the goals mentioned above for next year.
Nabeel Ahmadieh– Jodie Meeks came out of nowhere and was a delightful addition to the Sixers last season; a team that desperately needed an outside shooter. Meeks can light it up from downtown and provides necessary floor spacing for quick penetrators like Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala. With all that being said, outside of his superior jumper, Meeks is a below average player at other facets of the game. This season – if there is one – will be critical for Meeks’ future in Philadelphia. For the Sixers to take another step towards building a contender, Meeks must improve his play and prove to be a viable two-guard. However, from what I’ve seen thus far, on a championship calibar contender, Meeks is at best a shooter off the bench (think: Mike Miller). Once the Sixers realize he’s not the long-term solution at the shooting guard spot following this season (keep in mind we’re talking about building towards a championship-caliber team.
We don’t want to settle for 7th seed every season, because in that case, sure he could be your No. 2, then it’ll be time to address the position in the draft or via free agency while hoping to still hold onto Meeks as a serviceable reserve. But until a marquee name replacement is found, I think Meeks can help them bring home 50 wins next year.
Tom Sunnergren – I’ll tell you a secret. The last act makes the film. Wow them in the end, and you’ve got a hit. You can have flaws, problems, but wow them in the end, and you’ve got a hit.
Jodie Meeks had a great start as the Sixers’ starting two. Unfortunately for the former Kentucky Wildcat, that’s not how things ended.
This is okay though. Jodie Meeks is what he is: “is”. In this case meaning an unathletic and not particularly instinctive shooting guard whose willingness to take the big shot doesn’t quite offset his inability to hit it and whose selection in the second round of the 2009 draft was just about right. What he isn’t is a player who should be starting on a playoff contender.
So, to complete this little exercise, if not Jodie, then who? For my money (disclaimer: this is not a lot of money) the guy who should be starting at the two for the Sixers is Evan Turner.
I realize people think Evan Turner sucked last year, and I also realize these people are right, but if Iguodala sticks around — which it looks like he will — and if Evan Turner improves — which it looks like he will — it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for us to throw any cash at a veteran guard, especially when we have Elton coming off the books the season after next and we should be saving our coin for a big splash. You win championships with superstars, not mid-tier twos.
Sorry Richard Hamilton.
Carey Smith– It’s been a long time since I fell in and out of love with a Sixers player as frequently as I did with Jodie Meeks last year. For a starting NBA two-guard he’s entirely too streaky and doesn’t play enough defense for my tastes. Thus, for me he’s certainly not the long term answer here in Philadelphia. However, I think in 2011-12 you can plug Meeks in at the two-guard and the Sixers are a lock for 50 wins. We have to assume that Meeks will be inspired to improve his game this off season. First because from all reports, he is a player who works hard on his individual skills. Secondly, because Meeks has to see prized lottery pick Evan Turner in hot pursuit of his starting spot and he knows the Sixers are dying to give it to Turner. So Meeks should be extra motivated to play well on a nightly basis next year.
So with an improved and very motivated Meeks in the Sixers first-five, 50 wins is easily reachable. That’s holds especially true when you figure that 2011-12 will be this rosters second year under Collins and it will be impossible for the 7-6 to come out of the gates 3-13 again. Additionally, there were a handful of horrible L’s suffered by the Sixers in 2010-11 – Wizards twice in OT; CLE twice; blown lead late @ Atl; TOR twice; all come to mind quickly. Those slip ups will not be repeated now that the players have had a full season of exposure to Doug Collins’ wisdom.