10/31/12 3:04 pm EST
We know that in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, for many of you the tip off of another NBA season may not be on your mind right now. But assuming that all of our readers are physically okay, adapting and moving forward today — the NBA season started last night and that action has our hearts pumping for the 76ers opener tonight.
By now you’ve read or watched what all the national “experts” have predicted for our Philadelphia 76ers in 2012-13. To be honest, they are all over the place. Many of them believe that we are in for a replay of the 2010-11 season — .500 ball; make the playoffs; get bounced in the first round. There are also a few “experts” who are predicting that Philadunkia’s home team will fall flat on its face this season. Still others see a 50 win season coming up for the Sixers and a nice post-season run.
But as we all know, national “experts” are NOT the best source of information when it comes to the Sixers. So in an effort to provide educated forecasts on how this year will play out for the Sixers, the scribes here at Philadunkia — people who eat, drink and sleep the 7-6 — have typed up their predictions for 2012-13.
According to the Philadunkia staff, one thing is for sure, the 2012-13 76ers will be exciting to watch.
After the jump…Here we go
I was one of the few who thought the team that fell in Game 7 of the Conference semis last season was close to being a contender. A competent four or five — Ryan Anderson, Ersan Ilyasova, Anderson Varejao? — away from gaining a sustainable foothold in the NBA’s top tier as one of those head-scratchingly successful, superstar-less wonders that flashes across the night sky of the Association every so often, usually with Larry Brown involved in some capacity. So I watched in numb disbelief in the early stages of this off-season while Thorn took that team apart and built a worse one in its place.
And then the Bynum trade happened, which I loved and then liked and then supported. The thing is, we added a great player in the former Laker, but we lost an equally great one in Iguodala. Owing to Bynum’s age and positional scarcity, the move should be a long-term winner for the 7-6, but, because of Iguodala’s relative consistency, in the very near term the trade is probably a net minus.
Take none of this to the bank. I’ve been wrong about the Sixers at every single turn these last few seasons. Entering ‘10-11, I thought they’d win 20 games, and they broke even. Entering last season I thought they’d break even, and they stormed out the gates. I adjusted my expectations upward, and they proceeded to finish 15-22. Then I thought they’d get run out of the gym in the playoffs, and they finished ten points away from the Conference Finals. When I think they’ll zig, they zag. They’ve left me a pessimist without confidence in his pessimism.
But, you don’t make a season prediction because you’re ready. You make one because it’s October 31st. I’m calling a 44-38 record, the conference’s 7th seed, a first-round exit in the playoffs, and a very interesting offseason. I hope I’m wrong. I probably will be.
With the status of center Bynum’s knee still in question, expect the Sixers to look a lot like they had in the preseason to start the year. The Sixers are a deep, quick squad who can shoot the lights out.
New starters Thad, Allen and Turner will play a crucial role in getting the team off to the right start. Newly named captain Jrue Holiday will have to step up as the leader on offense and defense and make sure everyone is running plays in the correct way.
N. Young, Wright, Hawes and preseason sensation Maalik Wayns must find a way to bring in high energy play off the bench. The revamped “night shift” is the key to a Sixers win or loss this season.
After a fairly difficult schedule in the first 10 games of the season, the Sixers will face a much softer schedule in the second half of November.
If all goes well in Bynum’s rehab, expect the big man to return to action by December at full strength. December just happens to be the Sixers toughest month of the season and they will need him to bring his best game to the court both offensively and defensively for the Sixers to survive.
By season’s end I see the Sixers finishing as the 3rd seed in the East with a 48-34 record. They’ll get as far as the Conference Finals and they’ll fall to the Heat in 5.
The optimism surrounding this season is the ultimate bit of posturing by Philadelphia fans. The new cool thing to say is “Even without Bynum, this team is still better than last year’s team.”
Well, that can’t be further from the truth. Take a look at the new shooters compared to the old guard:
The most underrated ability/talent/skill in all of sports is health and Bynum is no Andre Iguodala in that regard. Doug Collins isn’t going to have the no turnover offense-elite defense to bail him out like it did last season. With the overpayment of Jrue on the horizon (anyone wish we kept Lou for 4/21 million right about now?) and a team that was built to tank pre-Bynum trade, a season of resounding disappointment is upon us but at least the team has SWAG…38-44 (4th in the Division).
While my basketball IQ tells me this team is littered with red flags — Bynum’s knees; ET’s soap opera; suspect defensively; turnover prone and the third year at a franchise for DC – that should have me typing up a ho-hum prediction for 2012-13, I instead find myself looking forward to a very solid season for the 7-6.
Here’s why…With a very good and improving point, wings who can score / shoot, bigs who can bang, a solid bench and I assume the eventual return of an All-Star center, Collins will NOT have to reinvent Dr. Naismith’s game each night on offense. This team will be able to score from the inside and the perimeter – no problem. Thus Collins and Curry can concentrate on teaching this group to play defense as a team — something they excel at doing.
However teaching career defensive slackers like Swaggy P to see ball and man at all times will not be easy. So the 7-6 will struggle out of the gate. But by January this team will have found its stride (on both ends) as well as its franchise center and they’ll storm home with 50 wins, 2nd place in the Atlantic and the 4th seed in the East. If Bynum stays healthy for the post season, they make it to the Conference Finals. If not, the Sixers are one and done and face an off-season full of questions.
The Sixers should contend in the Atlantic Division and potentially could finish as high as the #1 spot in the division or even as low as the #4 spot. Realistically I see the Sixers finishing third in the division behind the Celtics and the Knicks. This will translate to around the number 6 or number 7 seed in the East which I am content with.
I was overly optimistic about the Sixers season when they made the trade for Bynum over the summer, but the more I have been hearing about his knee injury, the less optimistic I have become in regards to their season. When will Bynum come back? If he comes back will he produce at the All-Star rate he did last year, or was that a fluke?
I loved what the Sixers did in the other moves though, acquiring sharpshooter Dorell Wright who will prove to play a big role in the Sixers rotation this year as well as Nick Young. Also now I do not dislike the Kwame Brown signing as he is a big body to eat up some minutes in place of Lavoy and Bynum. Jrue Holiday seems poised for a breakout season and as a result could become an elite point man the NBA. It will be extremely exciting to see his production increase in comparison to his previous years. Prediction: 3rd in Atlantic, 7th in Conference, 46-36, 2nd round of playoffs.
Let’s start with this basic premise: It is an absolute certainty that the 76ers will make the NBA Playoffs.
Though, that’s not what this season is about. It is a year that depends on the tall shoulders of Andrew Bynum. If he can be a healthy participant, then the Sixers can contend with the revamped Celtics for the 2nd spot in the Eastern Conference. If not, they are just a simplistically good team that wins 43 games and won’t have a long postseason visit.
Yet, if Bynum is healthy and playing his best, the Sixers will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. After all, there are only 2 teams in the East that have a center remotely comparable to Bynum. That’s the optimistic route and direction of this prediction. Doug Collins’s squad finishes 50-32. They finish 1st in the Atlantic Division, 2nd in the Eastern Conference. They then lose in 6 games to Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
With the addition of superstar center and potential future of the franchise Andrew Bynum it seems as though the team is taking steps in the right direction in order to return to elite status. Despite the infusion of talent this off-season however, I would still expect some growing pains from this team throughout the season, especially early on as all of the new parts learn to play together. The team was an impressive 6-1 in the preseason and showed a great range of offensive versatility and depth. Preseason however isn’t always the best predictor of regular season success and the Sixers still have some issues, including the health of their prized off-season pick-up and potential defensive mismatches.
Despite the difficulty of the division in which they play, I expect the Sixers to finish the season 50-32 and at least challenge for home court in the first round. Though they are heading in the right direction to truly compete for a title in a year or two, I would expect another exit in the Eastern Conference Semi’s this season, providing a successful season with which the team can build upon.