Sixers 2013-14 Season Preview

October 30th, 2013 by Sam Shipley | Filed under Basketball, General, Sixers.

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It is no secret that the Sixers are going to struggle this year. They traded away their best player, Jrue Holiday on the night of the NBA draft to acquire a first round pick in next seasons loaded draft and big man Nerlens Noel. Down the road was this a good deal? Most likely, but it certainly does not benefit the Sixers this season in anyway especially with Noel not even suiting up this season.

Last year on opening night, the city was filled with optimism. The Sixers were supposed to finally take that big leap after acquiring Andrew Bynum and become contenders. We all know how that story played out.

New General Manager Sam Hinkie, has made it clear that this season will be the first year of a rebuilding process, and nothing makes that more clear than the team slogan “Together We Build”. The Sixers currently have four rookies on the roster, headlined by first round drafts pick Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel. And only two players have been in the league for more than six seasons, Kwame Brown and Jason Richardson who have played 12 seasons each.

The goal is obvious this season, see the development of the young players, but ultimately win the sweepstakes for Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins is talked about to be the next big thing in the NBA, and when I say big I am talking Kobe Bryant and LeBron James big. The kid has just pure talent and will make an instant impact for years wherever he lands.

So what are the Sixers odds of being the worst team in the NBA this year, which gives them the best shot to get Wiggins? A Las Vegas sports book has the Sixers over/under for win total at just 16.5 this season which is the lowest for any team in about a decade.

With all of that being said, lets talk about the things to watch for this season for the Sixers:

 

The Play of Michael Carter-Williams

There are some people who believe MCW will be a franchise type of point guard for the future, and then there are some who think he will be a average or even bad player. Whatever the case is going to be, we will get a glimpse of the development of this young guard all year long as he has walked right into the starting job. Carter-Williams is a rare 6-6 true point guard, he is long and athletic enough to where he can get to the rim with good success and is a bit of a pass first point guard.

His defense will be something to watch for, however. Coming out of Syracuse, Carter-Williams played a zone defense a lot of his college career. In the NBA he is going to have to play man defense, a lot. It might not sound like an hard transition to make, but it is when you are going from years of zone to having to stick players such as Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams just to name a few. Could Williams develop into a good defender? Absolutely, but it is going to take some time for him to adjust to the NBA style defense coach Brett Brown will want out of him. He is lanky and athletic so he will cause some turnovers and contest shots just off of those features alone, but to be a good defender it takes a lot of hard work, something that Carter-Williams is known for.

The most important aspect of Carter-Williams game to watch this year is the jump shot. It is no secret that Williams struggles shooting the basketball as he shot just 32% from the field in the preseason, and 27% from beyond the arc. Until he is able to knock down a jump shot with consistency, his ceiling is limited. He will be guarded like Rajon Rondo, where the defender backs off of him and dares him to shoot those 16 footers, which will also clog up the passing lanes in the middle as well. If Williams is able to develop a respectable shot, he will be very tough to guard because he already has the ability to get to the rim like I said before.

If there is one player you really want to watch develop it is Michael Carter-Williams for sure.

 

Evan Turner

Evan Turner was the #2 overall draft pick back in 2010. Since then it seems like he has been nothing more than a headache for Sixers fans. Turner has been a decent NBA player, but certainly has not lived up to the hype of being the #2 pick in the draft. When you look at names who went in the same draft as Evan Turner: DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Paul George, and Greg Monroe; these players have all played at a high level.

Some people will argue that Turner just hasn’t been given the opportunity to shine, playing alongside Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday in his time here. Now there are no more excuses as both of those players are gone, and Turner is the top player on this team along with Thad Young.

What I want to see out of Turner this season, is a significant jump in numbers, but also I want to see his leadership on and off the court. This is a young group of guys, and as the best player on the team he needs to step up and be a leader in a season where a lot of things are going to go wrong for the Sixers. It is a contract year for Turner, so if he doesn’t perform the way he is expected to Sam Hinkie has already showed that he has no problem getting rid of talented players on this roster.

 

Will Turner, Thad, or Spencer Hawes be Sixers in April?

A busy summer for the Sixers with moves that you still might be trying to catch up on, might not be over. This season the Sixers are trying, no seriously they really are trying, to be the worst team in basketball. The obvious reason is the 2014 draft, but also next summer could be the best free agent class since 2010 when we seen the formation of the big 3 in Miami. It just so happens that those same players could all be free agents, along with Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, and Pau Gasol to name a few more.

So the Sixers will also be trying to shed as much salary as possible. Now Turner and Hawes are in a contract year, while Young is in the midst of a contract that pays him about $8 million a season. I talked about how Turner can either play his way into a new contract or out of Philly, and this is what I meant. If he does not perform, I see Sam Hinkie getting rid of Turner at the trade deadline to the best available offer (most likely a late first round pick or a couple of second rounders) depending on how he plays in my opinion.

Hawes is probably the most likely to stick around, and the only reason I say that is if you were a fan of another team would I don’t think you would catch yourself saying “I really hope we trade for Spencer Hawes!!”. He could be someone a contender takes a flier on if they need a big man, but the return will be minimal for the Sixers.

The most intriguing player to watch is Thad Young. Like I said he is in the midst of a contract at this point, but more importantly he could be the type of player a contender could target at the deadline as a piece to put them over the top. He is such a versatile player, who plays his heart out every single night. He can play the Small Forward or the Power Forward, and he is a solid defender and rebounder. With out a doubt in my mind, come January or Feburary, no matter how Thad is playing (unless he is averaging 25 and 13) I could see him shipped out of Philly. It would get the Sixers a decent return (probably a first rounder from a contender) or even if it is just expiring contracts in return. The move would shed at least $8 million a year off of the Sixers salary cap, and give themselves more money for next summer.

 

This season is going to be tough, it is going to be long, and there is going to be a lot of frustration. However, Sam Hinkie has a plan and that is the most important thing to remember. He is not going to settle for average to just be a 7th seed for the next decade, he wants to build a winner. If anything I am just as optimistic this year as I was a season ago on opening night. We now have a leader who wants to win and is truly just focused winning a championship one day. Next season when I write this column, I am hoping to have Andrew Wiggins name in here, along with LeBron James. Will either happen? Nobody knows, but that is what makes sports so fun and exciting. So this season just sit back and watch this team grow and develop. There will be games where they put a smile on our faces and make us remember why we love this team so much. Just listen to me when I say trust Sam Hinkie and believe in his plan because whether the plan is going to work is yet to be seen, but it is a plan I want to see developed for sure.

And it begins tonight.

 

 

What do you think about the Sixers this season? Are you hoping for Andrew Wiggins? Let me know no twitter and be sure to follow me for all your latest Sixers and NBA news and rumors @samshipley5

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