Year-End Grades for Every Key Philadelphia 76ers Player

Zachary Arthur@Zach_ArthurSLCCorrespondent IIDecember 29, 2013

Year-End Grades for Every Key Philadelphia 76ers Player

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    Philadelphia can be confident that they have one of the best rookies in the league.
    Philadelphia can be confident that they have one of the best rookies in the league.Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    The Philadelphia 76ers are made up of a number of different players who are playing for different things.

    There are those who are looking to prove their worth and lock in a big NBA contract in the offseason, those who want to make the Sixers question whether or not to trade them, and those who are simply trying to win games.

    Many of the team's failures have come from everybody wanting different things.

    The sometimes-hard-to-watch basketball has separated Philly fans into two separate categories: those who want to watch the players give it their all, even if it means they'll continue to come up short, and those who wish the world's efforts for a time machine were more advanced than they really are.

    Regardless of what category you fall under, evaluating a person's game and giving them a grade is a good way to chart their current and future success with the team.

    With that said, let's look at the year-end grades for every major Sixer.

Brandon Davies, PF

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    Davies is doing his best to impact games.
    Davies is doing his best to impact games.Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

    Being near the bottom of the depth chart can be very difficult. It's one of those positions where a player isn't rewarded with more playing time when they make a good play, but they are immediately pulled from the court when they do something wrong.

    Attempting to prove that they belong on the floor more isn't the right approach. Instead, the player just needs to do what's asked of him.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

    Brandon Davies has done exactly that. The Sixers don't need him to score 10 points or to get three steals. Philly needs him to go all out for the entire time he's playing. Any positive contributions that end up in the box score are just a bonus.

    His 2.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per game don't reflect the intensity he brings to the court. Davies has done a great job of doing the dirty work, and he's getting consistent playing time because of it.

    Grade: C

Daniel Orton, C

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    The progress is slow, but Orton is improving.
    The progress is slow, but Orton is improving.Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Daniel Orton might never live up to what people want out of a first-round draft pick's career, but he deserves quite a bit of credit for not giving up. There are a handful of players who fall out of the league just as quickly as they enter it.

    Orton isn't one of those guys.

    He's managed to improve at an age where some stop trying. Being 23 years old and rarely playing can be a little difficult. You've got these young guys coming into the league with more hype and potential. They tend to get a shot at playing over the guy who's been around for two years but hasn't shown much. It puts the slightly older veteran in a tough position.

    Luckily, it's a position that Orton has taken advantage of. Sure, he was lucky that the Sixers were the team which wanted to take a shot on him, but he's still shown random glimpses and flashes.

    Averaging 2.9 points and 2.7 rebounds in 10.9 minutes per game doesn't sound like much, but it's certainly an improvement. He has shown that he's a better player this year than last, and maybe there's some more potential to grow as well.

    Grade: C

Lavoy Allen, PF/C

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    Will Allen ever get better?
    Will Allen ever get better?Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    I have been incredibly hard on Lavoy Allen for two seasons now, but it's only because of what I saw him do in the 2012 NBA playoffs. He averaged 6.3 points and 4.9 rebounds in only 19.7 minutes per game off the bench. Oh yeah, he was also a rookie. There was no way for him to only take steps backward from there on out, was there?

    The answer is neither a no or a yes, and it's exactly why I've been so critical of Allen and his desire. He is now playing in his third NBA season, and he's yet to show any signs of growth. We're basically watching the same player we did in the 2012 playoffs—the wow-factor has just worn off.

    Allen has either hit his ceiling, or he hasn't spent enough time working on his game to improve. To say he's hit his ceiling would mean that he did so in the playoffs of his rookie season. If he's not spending enough time on his skills, then he's doing himself a major disservice.

    Only Allen knows, though.

    Grade: C-

Hollis Thompson, SF

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    Thompson has played himself into a starting role.
    Thompson has played himself into a starting role.Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Hollis Thompson has gone from an undrafted wing fighting to make it on to Philadelphia's final roster to a player beginning to get around 30 minutes a night.

    It's pretty remarkable to be able to accomplish a feat like that in only three months.

    Thompson went from averaging 4.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 14.9 minutes per game in the month of November to putting up 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game during December. He has done everything in his power to make sure that his increased playing time leads to an increase in production.

    The season is still relatively young, but it would be surprising to see Brett Brown reduce Thompson's playing time. The Sixers are nowhere near being good, and it allows the team to give its younger and more promising players valuable experience. Thompson is slowly turning into one of those guys.

    Grade: B-

James Anderson, SG

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    Anderson needs to get back into the mindset he started this season with.
    Anderson needs to get back into the mindset he started this season with.Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    James Anderson has turned into one of Philadelphia's biggest question marks as the season moves forward. He won't be the big name in any trade talks or anything, but where does he fit into the Sixers’ future plans as the team moves forward?

    Anderson came into the season as Philly’s starting shooting guard but has slowly begun to shoot his way out of the role. There's no other way to put it: Philadelphia needs him to make three-pointers on a consistent basis. It's got to be difficult for Coach Brown to rely on Anderson's shooting ability if he only made 27.0 percent of his shots from out deep in December.

    The sudden drop-off has brought Thompson into the starting lineup and left Anderson looking for his shooting stroke. There's no signs of him not ever finding it again or anything drastic like that, he's just on a downward trend, and it's not going to get better until he starts making shots.

    Grade: C+

Tony Wroten, SG

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    Wroten is getting back to old form.
    Wroten is getting back to old form.Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Tony Wroten was quick to make people think that Philadelphia had struck gold after it brought him and Anderson in. These two new guys were brought to the team for almost nothing and were putting up big numbers. While Anderson has cooled down and looks much more like an average NBA player, Wroten has been a little different.

    Wroten has put up at least double-digit point totals in nine of Philly's last 11 games, including five games of 20 points or more.

    He was kind of given the dream role for an NBA player—come off the bench and worry about scoring. Look at his past couple of games and you'll see he's doing just that.

    Is Wroten another good professional player on a bad team, or is he one of the team's diamonds? We might not know until next year, but it's something to look out for.

    Grade: B

Spencer Hawes, C

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    Hawes is giving everything he has on the court.
    Hawes is giving everything he has on the court.Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    Spencer Hawes hasn't only been one of the Sixers' most surprising players, he's also been one of their most valuable.

    Finding a player like him is incredibly difficult. He doesn't focus on putting up big numbers or being one of the focal points of an offense. Those kinds of things take care of themselves when somebody plays as hard as Hawes does. Instead, he plays with a defensive mindset and lets the game come to him on the offensive side of the floor.

    His numbers are beginning to come back to earth, but his averages of 14.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists and a 43.9 three-point field-goal percentage are more than you could ask for out of a guy who simply gives his all whenever he plays.

    All of the stats listed above are currently career highs, and it wouldn't be too surprising to see his numbers end around where they're at right now. Hawes embodies the attitude a professional basketball player should have, and it's really nice to see.

    Grade: A-

Evan Turner, SF/SG

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    Will Evan Turner get traded?
    Will Evan Turner get traded?Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

    Trade rumors involving Evan Turner continue to circulate, and there's no reason why they shouldn't. He is having a career year, and now could be the best time for the Sixers to get somebody of value for the fourth-year player.

    There's no denying Turner's talent. Putting up 19.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game is actually kind of scary. There are only a handful of players versatile enough to contribute like he has on a consistent basis. The trouble? Whether he can keep it up.

    Turner has played in 28 games during the 2013-14 season, and he'll need to continue to produce like he currently is for the next two months if the Sixers are going to capitalize on his success.

    Don't get it confused, though. This is the first year where he has been asked to be "the guy," and he's definitely making the most of it. Few players have been under as much scrutiny as Turner over the past couple of years, so it's good to see him rise above it.

    Even if it's only for a period of time.

    Grade: A-

Thaddeus Young, PF

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    Young's selflessness would really be missed if he were to be traded.
    Young's selflessness would really be missed if he were to be traded.Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    There are times when really good players have awful attitudes, and it tends to hold them back. There are also times where players with a nice-guy mentality hold themselves back because they don't have a strong enough killer instinct to go and dominate another person on the court.

    Then, there are occasionally guys who are incredible basketball players and carry themselves in an unbelievably respectful manner.

    Thaddeus Young is one of these guys.

    Don't believe me? Take a look at what he told Dei Lynam of after losing to the Phoenix Suns on December 28, 2013:

    Me personally, I don’t like arguing with the referees. I don’t want them (the referees) to dictate how I play the game. I just want to go out there and be a basketball player always. I communicate with them. I tell them that was a good call or I just leave it alone.

    He clearly shows off his mentality with the quote, but how did he play in the game? Well, he ended the night with 30 points and 10 rebounds. These kind of things are the makings of a pretty special player.

    It almost feels like Young has been around forever, but he's only 25 years old. Couple that with his increased skill level and it makes you question if the Sixers really should trade him, after a source told Liberty Ballers' Jake Fischer that Young requested a deal. He's the kind of guy who'd be great to have around as young players enter the organization.

    When it comes to the game of basketball, Young has been excellent. He knows what will be asked of him before anybody has to say a word, and he handles his business on the floor.

    He does so with class.

    Grade: A

Michael Carter-Williams, PG

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    Carter-Williams is going to have to stay on the floor if he wants to win Rookie of the Year.
    Carter-Williams is going to have to stay on the floor if he wants to win Rookie of the Year.Barry Gossage/Getty Images

    We finally get to Philadelphia's beloved rookie, Michael Carter-Williams.

    Look at his 18.1 points, 7.7 assists and a NBA-leading 3.1 steals per game and you realize that there's not much to say about the young point guard, except for that he's been sensational.

    When he's played.

    The biggest knock on Carter-Williams is his durability. He has already missed 11 games in his NBA career, and he isn't even halfway through his rookie season. If there is anything that will hold back a young point guard with so much potential, it's injuries.

    Now, getting hurt isn't necessarily something you can avoid, but choosing when to put your body in harm’s way certainly helps. It's something Carter-Williams will get better at, it just might take a little more time than people are OK with.

    Grading the 18 games he has played is extremely easy to do. He looks like a future All-Star when healthy, and it's only a matter of time before he hits the floor with an improved jumper that will leave teams wondering how to guard him.

    Opening his career with one of the best first games of all time—22 points, 12 assists, nine steals and seven rebounds—seemed to let Carter-Williams know that he's going to be as good as he wants to be.

    It's a good position to be in.

    Grade: A