Let us go back to August 10, 2012. The 76ers pulled the trigger by trading for Andrew Bynum who was considered the 2nd-best center in the NBA behind Dwight Howard. It wasn’t cheap at all. The 76ers had to give up a very good all-around player in Andre Iguodala and a couple of players on the rise in Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless. The Sixers also received a solid veteran in Jason Richardson.
Sixers fans were very excited about the prospect of pairing Bynum with Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. Many people felt that he would be able to raise Holiday and Turner’s games. The franchise needed a shot in the arm and this was it. The 76ers were expected to be pretty darn good and become one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Now, fast forward to today. The 76ers are 23-37 and have lost 10 of their last 11 games. Wait a moment. What happened? Aren’t they supposed to be good? Yes, Bynum has yet to play this season due to bone bruise in his knee. This is a huge factor to the Sixers’ disappointing season but it is more than just Bynum.
Let us take a look at the Sixers’ roster:
Jrue Holiday (PG) – The 76ers’ All-Star guard is averaging 19.0 points and 8.6 assists per game. He has been carrying the team on his back all season long. It has to wear him down at some point of the season.
Evan Turner (G/F) – The #2 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft who hasn’t met our expectations yet. He is averaging 13.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 4.5 APG. Those numbers may look solid but he has been inconsistent this season. He can look very good in some games, usually blowout losses, but struggle and disappear in others.
Thad Young (PF) – The team’s best low-post threat. He has been averaging 14.7 PPG and 7.7 RPG. Thad is undersized at the PF position but he plays with heart and hustle. His effort will never be questioned.
Spencer Hawes (PF/C) – A skilled big man offensively averaging 10.6 PPG and 6.6 RPG. Like Thad, Hawes’ effort will never be questioned but he is limited in what he can do. He struggles defensively due to lack of quickness and athleticism.
Dorell Wright (G/F) – A 3-point specialist acquired from Golden State in a trade during the offseason. He has been struggling all year long shooting 38% from the floor and 36% from the arc. He tries to do too much on the floor sometimes.
Nick Young (SG) – He is the team’s 6th man who was forced to start in some games recently before his injury. You will never know which Nick Young will show up. He is a very streaky shooter. He can shoot you back in the game but he can also shoot you out of the game.
Jason Richardson (SG) – He was part of the Bynum trade that brought him to Philadelphia. Richardson is a professional. Coaches, players, and executives around the league respect him. He was supposed to bring veteran leadership to this young team and provide outside shooting. He was doing a very good job early in the season until he was sidelined for the season with injury.
Andrew Bynum (C) – Do we need to say more? He was supposed to be our franchise player and a superstar that this team desperately needed for a long time. It is unlikely that he will suit up this season.
The rest of the 76ers roster consists of Kwame Brown, LaVoy Allen, Arnett Moultrie, Jeremy Pargo, Charles Jenkins, Damien Wilkins, and Royal Ivey. Arnett Moultrie has been a bright spot in his limited playing time. He is very active around the basket and gives the team a boost in energy. Kwame Brown has been a huge disappointment in his career but he is a solid low-post defender. LaVoy Allen doesn’t do much except hit mid-range jumpers and play some defense. Pargo gets to the basket pretty well but not much else. Ivey is a defensive specialist without any offensive game to warrant more playing time for him. Jenkins has been recently brought in from Golden State.
It is easy to blame this disappointing season on Bynum’s injury and Doug Collins’ coaching abilities. Fans have been clamoring about Collins not giving Moultrie enough playing time and his erratic rotations. Moultrie probably deserves more playing time after showing what he can do in his limited playing time.
If you take a look at the Sixers’ roster above, this team was clearly designed to be built around Andrew Bynum by spreading the floor with shooters. It was supposed to help Turner elevate his game since the defense would be focusing on stopping Bynum. Richardson was supposed to provide veteran leadership and keep the team together. That would be such a perfect scenario. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
Without Bynum, this team doesn’t have much talent besides Holiday, Turner, and Thad. The 76ers bench looks like a collection of D-Leaguers. Players like Wilkins, Allen, Pargo, Ivey, and Brown are players that you sign to 10-day contracts, not part of your regular rotation. Injuries and lack of talent on this team has forced Doug Collins to give Ivey, Allen, Jenkins, and Wilkins regular playing time lately. It is easy to blame Collins for his coaching ability but no coaches out there can win regularly with our roster at the NBA level.
The Sixers management swung for the fence by acquiring Bynum and Richardson hoping that they would turn the franchise around. Their plan backfired, leaving this team with not enough talent to compete with the big boys. That’s the result of the Sixers’ disappointing season. The management has a lot of work to bring back the once proud franchise back to the glory days. Sixers fans can only hope that it will happen sooner than later.