There are several unresolved issues surrounding our 2012-2013 Sixers as they are currently constructed. Sure they added some athleticism in Harkless and Moultrie, and shored up the perimeter shooting with the additions of Dorell Wright and the hot-handed Nick Young, but the interior personnel is still an enormous problem. The Sixers did not have the most formidable frontcourt last season, and by dropping Brand, their most consistent post player on both ends of the floor, they have only moved backwards. The combination of Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen, Nik Vucevic, and the recently-acquired Kwame Brown, may be one of the slowest and least skilled front-lines in the League, leaving the Sixers extremely vulnerable, especially on the defensive end.
If the team doesn’t shake things up perhaps by moving current Olympian Andre Iguodala for some inside support this off-season, which appears less likely with each passing day, it seems that Sixer fans can look forward to the least inspiring starting frontline of all time in starters Hawes and Kwame Brown. This dynamic duo lacks both the speed and strength necessary to compete with most of the League at large, let alone the elite teams. Picturing these two getting consistently posterized is just painful.
Teams with physical and skilled front-courts such as Chicago or Indiana will simply overpower the Sixers in the paint. Spence, despite his size, has little strength and is not built to bang with the League’s larger, more physical post players. Lavoy, while stronger and better built is somewhat undersized and too slow to be expected to continuously contain explosive forwards such as Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire. While both Spencer and Lavoy are serviceable bigs in certain situations, neither owns a game changing skill set or is necessarily deserving of starter’s minutes. Lavoy was a reserve/role player last year and it’s possible that is where he is best suited. Coach Collins could certainly be stretching Allen’s skill set if he is promoted to starter. Hawes shows flashes, and could be a nice piece if he were to split time with another equally talented center, but having him as the only center on the roster, aside from the ever under-achieving Kwame Brown, is far from ideal.
It doesn’t get much better with Kwame and Vucevic as neither are known for their defensive prowess. Brown is a decent defender at best and “Big Nik’s” defensive game is a work in progress. Elton Brand, although aging, at least supplied the Sixers with some interior toughness and shot blocking ability. With the current batch of bigs the Sixers can look forward to a long season of being pulverized in the paint.
Defensive difficulties aren’t the only areas where the Sixer bigs will struggle this season. No one on the roster is an above average rebounder. Spencer led the team with a pedestrian seven boards per night last season. Elton Brand, despite his limited mobility, brought toughness to the glass and was an underrated offensive rebounder last season. His production and consistency in this area will be missed. The Sixers were a solid rebounding team last year, seventh overall in the Association, but unfortunately this off-season it seems as though they may have regressed in this area.
The lack of size and strength in the frontcourt will strongly effect the Sixers on the offensive end as well. No one in this batch of bigs is known for their point production. Not one of these players have ever been a go-to guy, and their combined inability to create their own scoring opportunities will drastically hurt the Sixers throughout the season by placing too much of the scoring duty on the perimeter players.
While the Sixers have added some athleticism this offseason, it is safe to say that the failure to add a formidable frontcourt piece will haunt them throughout the 2012-13 season.
Wait, that sounds a lot like 2011-12.