We are less than two weeks away from tip off in the NBA. Judging from some of the offseason storylines, this should be an exciting season. Cleveland made moves. Orlando made moves. Even LA made a surprising signing in Ron Artest.
But what did the Philadelphia 76ers do?
For one, they traded Reggie "Technical" Evans to Toronto for sharpshooting Jason Kapono. While they lose one of their most tenacious, emotional players and a fan favorite in Reggie Evans, the two-time 3 Point Champion should help solidify the otherwise lacking perimiter shooting the Sixers have.
They also re-signed swingman Rodney Carney, a year after trading him to make room for Elton Brand.
Rodney Carney is a talented, young player who can drive the lane or hit the three. While he's not the most reliable perimeter shooter with a career .340 three point percentage, he should still help a team that made only .318% of their three point shots.
The signing of big man Primoz Brezec should provide depth at the 5 spot for the Sixers.
However, all of these moves won't make the team better when you look at their one glaring mistake. They didn't resign Andre Miller.
Andre Miller is one of the last true point guards left in the game. He could score if you needed him to, but the way he distributed the ball was masterful. Losing him is going to put a damper on the offense. The only point guards on the Sixers roster are Royal Ivey, while a great defender is not starting material, and draft pick Jrue Holiday, who is young, talented, and promising yet not quite ready to step into a starting role.
The Sixers will be relying on two-guard Lou Williams, who is short for a shooting guard but doesn't have the skill set of a true point guard. The Sixers can win with Williams, but they will have a much better chance if they had a point guard who could distibute and run the offense like Andre Miller did. Lou Williams is a good player, but in order for the Sixers to be in the best position to win, they need a point guard who will distribute the ball effectively.
Another big move by the Sixers was moving Tony DiLeo back to the front office and bringing in Eddie Jordan to be the head coach. Eddie Jordan is a career 230-288 with a .444.win percentage and an 8-18 playoff record, winning only one playoff series. What Eddie Jordan brings to the team exactly, has yet to be seen. He isn't a good coach. He makes bonehead decisions and can't manage his players (Gilbert Arenas, although on second thought he might be unmanageable altogether). When Eddie Jordan was announced as head coach, there was a collective "What the hell?" with Sixers fans everywhere.
In summary, the summer did not treat the Sixers well.
There are, however, some positives to look at this upcoming season. Look for Andre Iguodala to earn his first of hopefully many All-Star appearances. Look for Thaddeus Young and Marrese Speights to develop further. Thaddeus Young is one of the most overlooked players in the league. This is the year he breaks out nationally.
Look for Lou Williams to step up to the challenge. Can he make the transition to a true point guard? Will it be temporary while the Sixers look for a trade or try to fast track Holliday?
Look for promising youngster Jason Smith and expensive veteran Elton Brand to return to the court. The return of Jason Smith will definetly help the team, but Brand will have to gell with the offense to have any impact outside of rebounding.
Look for the development of Jrue Holliday and Philly native Dionte Christmas. These two young players loaded with talent might see minimal time this season, but combine them with the young core of Iguodala, Young, Speights, Williams, and Smith and this team should be exciting to watch for a long time.
So the biggest question is can they do something in the playoffs? They've made it the past two years, but have yet to advance. Can they do it this year? Well, even if they kept Andre Miller they would still have trouble in the playoffs with Eddie Jordan as coach.
As a matter of fact, the Sixers will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs this season. With Cleveland, Orlando, and Boston as locks for the top three seeds, that leaves the Sixers contending with Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, and New Jersey for the last five spots. Miami and Chicago might as well be considered locks. While Detroit is in decline, that still leaves Charlotte, Atlanta, and New Jersey to compete with for those final three spots.
Hopefully the Sixers can do something.
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