The 2012-13 season is nearly upon us and nobody has been more critical of the moves made by the 7-6’s front office this summer than myself. That being said, I believe that this team can certainly end up being a top 4 playoff seed at the end of the regular season.
In this post I will detail the 10 keys to maximizing the team’s success in 2012-13. The closer these 10 things come to happening, the better chance this team has to be elite this season. One overlooked part of the Bynum trade was how the potential minute distribution was so positively affected. Many of the keys to the season have already been detailed on this site and some are new thoughts about a successful 2013 season.
After the jump, my 10 keys to a successful 2012-13 season for the new look 76ers…
1) Bynum’s Health and Defense
Production on offense is not a concern, health and defense are. Without Bynum playing (Which according to this link could be an even longer span of time now.), the 76ers would be favorites against at most, a handful of teams on a neutral court. Defensively, he is a downgrade from Elton Brand, which isn’t a knock on Bynum as nearly every big in the NBA would have been a defensive downgrade last season. In 400 less minutes, Brand had 12 more steals+blocks and rated among the best in the NBA per Synergy Sports.
Effort is where Bynum is going to need to improve on D, and there is concern that being the #1 option on offense will negatively effect his effort on defense. Most nights that won’t be a concern but as the season gets further along, it’s something to watch out for.
2) Jrue Holiday
If you haven’t heard of Haralabos Voulgaris, google him. Haralabos point blank said “Jrue is the 2nd most important player on the 76ers” and that’s enough for me. Here is an article on Philadunkia about Jrue, and an ESPN article that was inspired by that Philadunkia article. The importance of a major progression for Jrue as a player in 2012-13 can’t be understated.
3) 3pt Shooting
I had previously written an unpublished article about the fallacy of the acquisition of sharpshooters this off-season. The gist of it is that Coach Collins has never valued 3pt shooting as a coach, and our new additions only hit 1.4 more 3s per game last year than Iggy, Lou and Meeks while shooting at a lower %. Philly has shot 35.5% and 36.2% from 3 and been 24th and 25th in 3pt attempts the past 2 seasons. League average is about 18 attempts per game, so this team should be stroking 20+ a game. With Bynum entrenched in the post and often commanding a double team, this team should take the most 3s of any 76er team in history.
Quick Stat Fact of the Day, which may or may not be widely known: If you wanted to do a statistical analysis of who is the best offensive player in the NBA, the first thing to figure out would be who is double teamed the most.
4) THAD > Turner at Small Forward
Thad is 4 months older than ET but was always 1 year ahead in school. Since at least Thad’s junior year in HS, he has been a vastly superior player and it’s all well documented. Thad was a Top 5 high school recruit, Turner was 50th. Thad was a lottery pick in 2007. In 2008, Thad was well above average as a Rookie in the NBA season playing 21mpg, while Turner was an average freshman on a team that didn’t make the ’08 NCAA tournament.
Here is a link to their draftexpress.com profiles, A.K.A. Draft Combine numbers which show that these 2 are the same size and that Thad is a considerably better athlete. Thad wasn’t even 19 years old at the time of the NBA combine and ET was 2 years 8 months older at the time of his Combine:
Thad should be playing mid-high 20 minutes per game at the SF position, Dorell Wright should be playing the other 5-8ish minutes at SF and ET should be getting 15 minutes a night. This article details the argument for Thad at SF.
5) The play of Hawes and Lavoy.
Bynum will be playing about 34mpg. at the center spot and Thad should play about 8mpg at PF. That leaves 54 minutes for Hawes and Bynum to play in the front-court on a nightly basis. Both players were a pleasant surprise last season, injury issues or a regression in either big’s play would be a major blow to the team’s success. An Interesting note about this duo is that Hawes has an elite pedigree (Top 5 HS Recruit, Lottery Pick) and Lavoy was a diamond in the rough (Mid 140s HS Recruit, Undrafted), yet both are equally important to the teams success this year.
6) Dorell Wright is better than Jason Richardson and obviously, SwaggyP.
Thus, Wright should be playing most minutes of these three. Here are the last 2 season averages from each player:
Jason Richardson – 6’4; 31 years old
32mpg, PER of 14.3 and 2 year adjusted +/- of -1.91
TS% OREB% DREB% AST% STL% BLK% TO% USAGE
.535 2.79 11.28 10.23 1.8 .66 8.13 20.45
Dorell Wright – 6’7; 26 years old
33mpg, PER of 15.0 and 2 year adjusted +/- of -.43
TS% OREB% DREB% AST% STL% BLK% TO% USAGE
.544 3.44 13.39 10.64 1.93 1.4 9.12 18.61
Nick Young – 6’5; 27 years old
30mpg, PER of 13.7 and 2 year adjusted +/- of -4.63
TS% OREB% DREB% AST% STL% BLK% TO% USAGE
.526 1.68 7.77 6.19 1.19 .69 8.37 24.58
7) Give ET 30mpg.
If you have been following the site, you know my thoughts on ET. His playing time should be split 50/50 at PG/SF. ET deserves to get more playing time this season if only because it will keep Nick Young and to an lesser extent, Kwame on the bench. Playing ET is a necessary evil as well since he potentially takes up nearly 11% of the cap if his Team Option is picked up for 13-14. It’s tough to project a significant improvement in ET since his most valuable attribute, defensive rebounding, is what Bynum was 2nd in the league at last season. Defense, Distribution and shooting %’s of 44/33/75 would be a welcomed sight to 76er fans, front office, DC, and all of his teammates.
8) Keeping Nick Young and Kwame on the bench.
Unless it’s a timeout and 2 for 1 situation at the end of a quarter or end game situation with fouls being issued to the other team so he can be subbed for the defensive situations, Nick Young should never play. Kwame is the 4th best option at C, barring injuries, he and SwaggyP will be occupying Nocioni’s old spot on the bench.
9) Can Moultrie or Maalik provide any kid of production?
From a purely historical perspective, here is my assessment of Moultrie:
Since 1998-1999, 54 players have had seasons where they averaged 10+ rebounds, less than 1 block and less than 1 steal per game. Quentin Richardson and Reggie Evans are the only 2 guys who have become NBA players. Q-Rich was a McDonald’s All-American and C-USA player of the year as a freshman when he averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds. Reggie Evans transferred from a JUCO school to Iowa and proceeded to average 15 pts. and 12 rebounds. Evans led the NCAA in rebounds and free throw attempts per game (9.9) that season.
Since 2009-2010, 82 college players averaged 35+ minutes per game and averaged under 1 block and steal per game. Only Brandon Knight, who was the 6th ranked HS prospect in the country and 8th overall pick after his freshman season, has become an NBA player or was even a 1st round pick. That means if we look at history, Moultrie has a 3% chance to be an effective NBA player. So we have that going for us which is certainly better than nothing.
Malik was a highly ranked HS recruit who as every 76er fan knows, played for Larry Brown’s very college coach, Jay Wright at Villanova. As my Uncle so succinctly put it, “Maalik was a talented player on a team with no offense and a coach who was considered a better recruiter than coach but hasn’t recruited well in years.”
Something else to consider is that PG is the position that has yielded the most quality undrafted players.
10) Make a run at a veteran.
Would OKC trade Westbrook for Thad+Jrue+Lavoy? Would Atlanta trade Josh Smith for Thad+ET? Would Utah trade Al Jefferson for Hawes + Nick Young? Would Denver trade Iggy for ET+Dorell Wright? Whatever the trade, picking up a veteran who can actually contribute to this team down the stretch run of the 2012-13 season and into the playoffs would be a solid idea for DiLeo and DC to consider.
…Assuming #10 doesn’t happen, here is what the mpg breakdown should look like this year.
PG – Jrue 33mpg, Turner 15 mpg
SG – Wright 22mpg, JRich 24mpg, Nick Young 2mpg
SF – Thad 25mpg, ET 15mpg, Wright 8mpg
PF – Thad 8mpg, Hawes/Lavoy 40mpg
C – Bynum 34mpg, Hawes/Lavoy 14mpg
Taking a look at things, the success of the season comes down to some a few key things: Bynum’s Health, Jrue, Lavoy and Hawes progressing, shooting lots of 3s, Thad playing his natural position and keeping SwaggyP and Kwame on the bench.