After a dismal 2009-2010 season where the 76ers finished 27-55 it is easy to realize why the Wells Fargo Center is far from filled to capacity. Ex-coach Eddie Jordan and his Princeton offense failed to hit home on a team not designed to shoot jumpers all day long. Not only did the Sixers take a step back as a team but Jordan managed to stunt the growth of up and coming stars like Mareese Speights and Thaddeus Young in the process.
This past off-season provided a series of good luck events for a team in serious need of a makeover. The hiring of basketball guru Doug Collins to right the ship was the smartest move Ed Stefanski has made in Philly. He also managed to admit that the hiring of Eddie Jordan was “the wrong move.” No, Really?? What an enlightened point of view Ed, I believe that every Sixers fan known to man could have told you that a quarter of the way through last season. But anyway we move on, big things continued to happen for the Sixers. They landed the #2 spot in the NBA Draft prompting them to draft a 1st Team All-American and National Player of the Year in Evan Turner.
With Doug Collins now in control changes continued to take place. Out the door went Willie Green, Jason Smith, Rodney Carney, and overpaid, overrated Sammy Dalembert. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve yelled at the television watching Sammy get abused underneath the rim. In came newly drafted rookie Evan Turner, Andres Nocioni, and big men Tony Battie and Spencer Hawes.
With a victory over the Bobcats today on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day the Sixers have won 4 of 6 and at 17-23 sit a ½ game ahead of Charlotte for 8th place in the Eastern Conference. This team is not going to win a championship in the next 3 years but I believe there is optimism for the future. They have a solid young nucleus of players consisting of Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Mareese Speights, Evan Turner, and Andre Iguodala. They still lack in major areas especially having a legitimate, take over the game #1 scorer and a dominating low post presence. The pluses are that there is a boat load of youth, speed, athleticism, and energy. It is apparent that Andre Iguodala is best suited as a complimentary player and could potentially be moved by the trade deadline. Evan Turner’s continuing development is key as he has shown progressive signs after a horrid start. Although the playoffs would be a nice surprise it is no secret that another top 5 pick would be an added bonus.
After the train-wreck that was Eddie Jordan it was hard to tell what kind of “team” we would see on the court this year. But with the tutelage and high basketball IQ of head coach Doug Collins it is clear that the 76ers are headed in the right direction. The feel and look of the team just seems so much more comfortable with Collins at the realm. It is clear the team is playing with more passion and cohesiveness than in years past.
Elton Brand had this to say after today’s win “We’re just playing as a unit all the way around.”
It is great to see the Sixers actually playing like an NBA team, and to me looks like a team on the rise.