It has been quite the rollercoaster of a season for Philadelphia’s 76ers, one which included a stint at the top of ESPN’s power rankings, as well as a slump that had many speculating as to whether the team would even be able to push into the postseason. Despite this inconsistency, the team was able to clinch their second consecutive playoff birth this week, and head into the NBA’s second season as assumed first round fodder for one of the East’s elite.
While any playoff appearance is an exciting accomplishment, seeing the Sixers have to struggle their way into a somewhat shallow East’s last seed is disappointing, especially after such a strong start to the season elevated expectations. With the Sixers sitting on the East’s eighth seed and a match-up with the battle-tested Bulls looming, it leaves one to wonder whether the team might have been better off slipping into the lottery and allowing themselves at least an outside shot of acquiring franchise-changing center Anthony Davis.
This team however was too talented for the NBA Lottery, as recent wins down the stretch may have worked to reignite some confidence in the young squad as they head into the always unpredictable postseason. It is no secret that benches shrink once the playoffs come around and coaches become extremely picky as to who sees playing time. Rotations often shrivel from 9 or 10 to 7 or 8 as players are expected to pick up their overall performance. It will be interesting to see how Coach Collins handles this aspect with the Sixers as they have been an especially deep team all season, with eleven different players averaging at least ten minutes per game. Minutes for backup bigs Lavoy Allen and Tony Battie will almost definitely dip, but outside from that it is difficult to determine how Coach Collins will readjust the rotation.
With that being said, the ample amount of minutes given to streaky-shooting Jodie Meeks seems to be an area of great concern, and if the Sixers hope to have any chance to advance in this year’s playoffs it must be addressed.