Posted by: Jake Fischer
07/08/13 10:15 am EST

Now that Dwight Howard has signed with the Houston Rockets, it’s pretty clear that the top 6 spots in the West belong to, in no particular order, the Rockets, Thunder, Grizzlies, Clippers, Spurs and Warriors. Thus, only the 7th and 8th seeds will really be up for grabs during the regular season

The Portland Trailblazers are probably going to be one of teams fighting for the last two spots.  Signing former 76er Dorell Wright to a two-year deal Saturday, drafting CJ McCollum, trading for Thomas Robinson and Robin Lopez will likely help Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge contend.

The Timberwolves added Kevin Martin and will probably make some additional moves to bolster their roster around Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love.  The Mavericks, after signing Jose Calderon, could be one more move away (Rumors are linking the Mavs to Andrew Bynum) from getting back to the playoffs behind Dirk Nowitzki as well.  And, maybe the Kings, with the return of Carl Landry and the addition of Greivis Vazques could also be in the mix.

Why does any if this Western Conference forecasting matter to Philadunkia nation?

The New Orleans Pelicans, who are in the thick of the last two playoff spot race as well, owe the Sixers their first round pick in 2014.

After dealing for Jrue Holiday on Draft night and adding Tyreke Evans through a sign and trade, the Pelicans looked like a prime candidate to sneak into the back end of the West playoffs.  But, with several other teams making key moves during the start of free agency, it’s going to be more difficult for the Pelicans to make the postseason.

Of course this is all hypothetical, but the Pelicans could realistically finish anywhere from 7th to 11th in the West, paving the way for the Sixers to potentially have two really solid lottery picks next June.  And yes, even though the Pelicans boast a very strong probable crunch time lineup of Jrue-Gordon-Evans-Ryan Anderson-Anthony Davis, New Orleans could still realistically be looking up at 10 teams in the West come April.  That’s a real possibility when you consider Gordon’s injury history, the new faces adapting to Monty Williams’ system and potential chemistry issues with three high-profile guards.

So, Sixers fans, embrace the tank because we could really be in for a climactic 2014 off-season.  Just keep tabs on the Pelicans out West—their success (or failure) is vital to the Sam Hinkie’s rebuilding process.


5 Responses to “BIRD WATCHING”

  1. Alex Hootan
    8. July 2013 at 11:40

    We embrace the tank praying that this season will be a season that defines Sixers Identity for the next 10 seasons or so, at least. But this team needs to turn it around in 2 years. Remember fans are not going to hang around for another 3-5 seasons waiting to see what Sam is cooking. Mistakes need to be corrected right away and players with low potential must let go.
    A few suggestions:
    Trade Turner either for draft picks in 2014 or moving up in 2014.
    Keep Thad, he is the real Gem
    Get rid of Jay Rrich and Brown ASAP!!!!

  2. Jodie
    8. July 2013 at 14:27

    @Alex…. How do you suppose they move JRich or Kwame? The only trade-able assets the Sixers have are Thad (who you don’t want to move – nor do I, to be clear) and draft picks. Evan Turner can (currently) be moved only really for a guy who’s out of favor with his own team. Brown will be gone soon enough – after his $2.9mil this year, it’d probably be the last the NBA hears from him.

    Best case scenario for JRich/Turner for the 7-6 is that they play well early in the season and a playoff-contending team that loses a shooting guard is willing to send a pick for either of those guys.

    Strap in bro, they’re on the roster for at least the first half of the season, and probably beyond.

  3. ken
    8. July 2013 at 16:42

    jrich isn’t going to play until half way through the season so he wont be able to be traded until he is an expiring contract

  4. Alex
    8. July 2013 at 21:06

    Agree with you on difficulties if getting rid of these two. As Ken pointed out we are stuck with Jrich for now till Jan 14.Perhaps we can buy their contract out.
    On Turner, I am sure somebody would want him!!

  5. ms. haygood
    9. July 2013 at 11:20

    Nobody wanted Turner for an end of the first round pick in this years “weak” draft. Good luck unloading him for a second round pick in next years draft.

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