While the start of the NBA season has taken a backseat to exciting NFL preseason action and an imminent NHL Lockout, there is nothing that can subdue the excitement coursing through Sixers Nation with the addition of star center Andrew Bynum—except for a potential hot start by the Eagles, if that.
With a roster devoid of star power and quality bigs, Philadelphia 76ers’ general manager Rod Thorn—likely egged on by head coach Doug Collins—finally pulled the trigger on his first blockbuster deal as GM, sending Andre Iguodala, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic and a 2013 1st-round pick to Denver and Orlando in exchange for three-point threat Jason Richardson and center Andrew Bynum. And this all came after he added swingman Dorell Wright, two-guard Nick Young and center Kwame Brown, three decent role players who can flourish in the right situation.
So, while the class of the Eastern Conference remains the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat, how will the Sixers fare in 2012-2013 with a revamped roster? Lead writer Manav Khandelwal, Sixers featured columnist Austin Krell and Rant Sports Sixers columnist Dave Hilts give their own opinion on different aspects of the season preview:
|5 Most Important Games||Oct 31 vs DEN, Nov 4 @ NYK, Dec 1 vs CHI, Dec 7 @ BOS, Mar 8 @ MIA||Oct 31 vs DEN, Nov 4 @ NY, Nov 24 @ OKC, Dec 1 @ CHI, Jan 5 @ SAS||Oct 31 vs DEN, Nov 4 @ NY, Nov 7 @ NOH, Feb 23 vs MIA, Apr 17 @ IND|
|Division Rivals to Watch||Avery Bradley (BOS) – great defender, matchup nightmare for ET
Amare Stoudemire – Hawes will be manhandled defensively
Tyson Chandler – ability to shut down Bynum
|Deron Williams – can pick apart Philly backcourt with ease
Carmelo Anthony– no Iggy, big defensive problem
Brandon Bass (BOS) – mid-range jumper killed Sixers last year
|MarShon Brooks (BRK) – could be solid man off the bench for potential division champs
Brandon Bass (BOS) – will be needed to fill team’s frontcourt void
Raymond Felton (NYK) – driven to become top point guard in league
|How Hot is Doug’s Seat?||20 Degrees – He’s done well, but he’s stubborn with young players; needs to also think about future||10 Degrees – He got them to 2nd round, but how can he manage improved roster?||0 Degrees – relationship with team is strong, failure will rest upon Bynum’s shoulders|
|Hawes Confidence Meter (1-10)||7 – I’m not a fan of Hawes, but I think his skill set (passing and shooting) will go well with Bynum.||5 – Good against Bulls, bad against Celts. Needs to work well with AB to regain confidence.||6 – Like him playing 4 alongside Bynum; can score & won’t be bullied in paint as much.|
|Bynum: Boom or Bust?||Boom – He likes Philly; with a good attitude he’ll be the most dominant center in the East.||Boom – He becomes a dominant big man in East; guaranteed All-Star appearance.||Boom – With D12 gone, Bynum becomes East’s best C with Hibbert. He’ll be more productive – I hope.|
|Projected Lineup||Holiday, Turner, Wright, Hawes, Bynum||Holiday, Turner, Richardson, Hawes, Bynum||Holiday, Turner, Richardson, Hawes, Bynum|
|Breakout Year From…||Evan Turner – The Sixers need ET to play well alongside Jrue, and I think he’ll finally deliver.||Nick Young – He may be a pure scorer, but that’s what Philly needs. He’ll find himself this yeare||Spencer Hawes – I believe a year at the four will finally show off his scoring ability and use on the court. Thanks, Andrew!|
|X-Factor||Evan Turner – Without a competent backcourt mate, Jrue could take a step back. Sixers need ET.||Thaddeus Young – Last year, when Thad scored 10-plus, they had a .620 win %. Enough said.||Night Shift – Lou Will may be gone, but Thad/Nick Young and D. Wright need to maintain one of the league’s best benches.|
|Assists Leader||Jrue Holiday||Jrue Holiday||Jrue Holiday|
|Leading Rebounder||Andrew Bynum||Andrew Bynum||Andrew Bynum|
|Leading Scorer||Andrew Bynum||Evan Turner||Nick Young|
|Team MVP||Andrew Bynum||Andrew Bynum||Kwame Br – kidding, Bynum.|
|W-L (Seed)||47-35 (5th)||49-33 (4th)||46-36 (5th)|
|End Result||Beat 4th seed, fall to Miami in second round.||Lose in second round to Miami (in 7 games).||Bounced in first round by 4th seed.|
Well there you have it! Manav Khandelwal, Austin Krell and Dave Hilts with their predictions/analysis for the upcoming 2012-2013 Philadelpia 76ers season.
We all love to hear from you guys, the readers, so feel free to comment below with your own predictions.