10/30/12 7:13 pm EST
While an “expert” opinion on basketball doesn’t exactly carry the same weight as an expert opinion on bone cancer or, I don’t know, a once-in-a-generation hurricane, they’re usually a lot more fun to read.
So without further ado, here’s a look at what some of our favorite NBA pundits from around the interwebs are expecting for and from the 2012-13 Philadelphia 76ers.
(Oh, and be sure to swing by tomorrow to read what Philadunkia’s own team of armchair point guards is predicting for (spoiler alert!) what we think is the best basketball team in Philadelphia.)
John Hollinger of ESPN.com writes…
“Philadelphia is going to have to change its stripes significantly with Bynum in the fold, as last season’s conservative pass-pick-and-cut approach is replaced by force-feeding Bynum on the block and surrounding him with shooters…As a result, this will be a higher turnover outfit — post-ups invariably lead to more turnovers, especially ones involving Bynum and double-teams …Defensively, however, the Sixers also will change, and probably for the worse. Iguodala was an elite wing defender and Philly has nobody to fill that void. Nick Young and Richardson are bad defenders, and Turner and Wright are merely adequate. Bynum will swat away some mistakes in the middle, but on balance I’d be surprised if this is a top-three defense again…The Sixers have high hopes for Turner, but I don’t, and I think they should trade him before others catch on to what a hugely negative offensive player he is. They seem remarkably cavalier about the lack of a backup point guard…Subjectively, one must also consider Collins’ history of self-combusting in his third season in a city; the new blood may prove helpful here…The Sixers will be a different team, but I’m not sure it will be a better one. If they still had Brand and Williams rather than Young, Wright and Brown, then I’d be singing a different tune. But this group looks like a mid-tier, one-and-done outfit.
Ian Thomsen of SI.com writes…
“I am not a believer in Nick Young. He jacks up bad shots, and he’s all about Nick Young…Wright is going to be a spot-up guy who will knock down shots, but he’s not an innately tough player and that makes me think Doug won’t love him…Lavoy Allen benefited by sneaking up on people as a rookie last year. He’ll get after it defensively and he can make mid-range jumpers. Kwame Brown will help them if he’s healthy. He is still a good defender, and if Bynum is off the floor, Kwame will have the size to replace him…Their rookie big man, Arnett Moultrie, is a good athlete, but no one can depend on him this year. Another question they need to resolve is at backup point guard. Royal Ivey should be your third point guard, not your backup. Collins has tried as much as any old-school coach in the NBA to get through to his guys. You can see how much passion he still has [at age 61]. How much longer can he keep it up before he burns out?”
Paul Forrester of SI.com writes that the Sixers will be the surprise “flop” of the year…
“Despite a run to Game 7 of the second round last season, red flags abound: After starting 20-9 last season, the Sixers went 15-22 the rest of the way before catching a break in the first round when Derrick Rose tore his ACL; Doug Collins reportedly lost much of his locker room last season and has burned out himself or his players in every previous stop, which may be why he has never coached an NBA team beyond three seasons (this is his third in Philadelphia); and new center Andrew Bynum, who has played more than 65 games only once in his career (and sat out six of 66 last season), already has missed the entire preseason with knee discomfort. Sure, everything could break perfectly with the Sixers’ new faces meshing with Collins. But that’s asking for a lot of pieces to fall in line, maybe too many for one season.”
Sam Amico of foxsports.com writes…
“With Bynum, Holiday, big man Spencer Hawes, swingmen Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young, these guys should be pretty doggone dangerous almost immediately. Bottom line: After hitting what appeared to be their ceiling with vets like Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala, the Sixers needed a shakeup. They got it, and if Bynum is ready for his role as go-to dude, the results should be everything they hoped. And in a year or two, perhaps more than the Sixers even dreamed… The Sixers are also members of what’s become a stacked Atlantic Division that also includes Boston, New York and Brooklyn. So there’s no crime in tempering expectations this season. Still, the Sixers should have something special here. Chances are, it’ll be evident immediately…50-32”
John Schullman of NBA.com writes…
“…One other big difference in the Sixers’ offense will be an increased role for point guard Jrue Holiday…more of the playmaking burden falls on Holiday’s shoulders. And while the Sixers are going to be a much better half-court offensive team with a dominant post presence, Collins still wants his team to run the floor and not necessarily wait for Bynum…it may be the development of Holiday himself that really determines just where the Sixers stand in the Eastern Conference. Two years ago, Collins said that Holiday would eventually be a top-five point guard in the NBA. And now would be a great time for the 22-year-old to make that leap, because while Bynum is the star, Holiday is running the show…”
Kurt Helin of probasketballtalk.com writes…
“After the Miami Heat in the East things are pretty fluid and a number of teams think they can be the two seed — Indiana, Boston, New York, Brooklyn. And you can put Philadelphia in that mix. The question is, how much better are they now than the slightly above .500 team of last season? Is Bynum in the middle that much better than Iguodala on the wing (and Lou Williams off the bench). Can their defense hold while all their players take the steps forward expected of them?…I’m not convinced the Sixers are dramatically better short term, but I like what Philly did…Now there is a real chance for a Holiday/Evans/Bynum core to be very good and grow together over a few years…I like the idea of going big with Bynum at the five and Spencer Hawes starting at the four…Last year the Sixers were far, far to much of a jump shooting team that never got to the free throw line…Teams that expect a lot of guys to step up in the same year tend to have more fits and starts than a smooth, fast ride to the top. I like what Philadelphia is doing, they are certainly a playoff team in the East and one that should have a goal of having their first-round series start at home…47-35, which could be a four to six seed in the east…a team that might well be much better in April and May than November as they grow together…if they get to the second round next season it’s because they are that good. And getting better.”
- In Vegas, the 76ers regular season win total has been set at 45.5.
- SI picked the 76ers to finish 8th in the Eastern Conference.
- Of the 35 NBA writers ESPN.com polled before the season, only three picked the 76ers to win the Atlantic. 29 picked the Celtics and three picked the Nets.