The Philadelphia 76ers currently lead the Atlantic division and reside at the No. 4 seed in the conference with a record of 22-17.
Despite their solid start (and some heartbreaking losses), the fact of the matter is they do not have a superstar. If they want to be a contender, then they must improve on the areas that need to be fixed in order to reach their peak/potential.
In other words, they need to work on and execute the little things like fundamentals and other areas of the game where they can potentially thrive in without a superstar. They also need to step up compared to what they've been doing this season.
I know, it sounds unnecessary, but it's true. A first step to improvement is going back and executing the basics.
Everyone knows this team doesn't have a superstar, and the way they win games is playing defense and going hard on every play. The peak of talent this team has compared to other elite teams can only be compared so much. Therefore, they need to take advantage of the fundamentals and play small ball.
When a team is deficient, it needs to do its best to maximize talent, regardless of the sport. Doug Collins definitely does a good job of it, but they need to go even further.
Although the Sixers have a great transition game, they cannot always rely on it.
With a young lineup in its earlier stages of its development, they need to try to do more than just run the offense through Andre Iguodala. Iguodala is certainly a very good player who is capable of many things, and Collins clearly thinks highly of him. However, they need to give more opportunity to others, specifically Evan Turner (who I will get to later).
On top of this, Collins needs to do a better job of implementing better plays; too many times do they run the same plays through Iguodala or the typical pick-and-roll for Lou Williams.
The offense has proven that they have good rotation. This lineup is good at executing challenges, so why not feed them more?
The Sixers' outlook on Evan Turner and the future in general is nothing short of vague.
Seven times in the past month he has seen less than 20 minutes of playing time. Talk about an investment for a No. 2 overall pick, huh? If they want Turner to be a part of the future, then he needs to see more playing time.
Whether or not he is the option for the future is something to ponder for another day, but Turner is definitely one of the most all-around talented players on the team—perhaps the most talented—when it boils down to pure skill set.
For what he's worth, he should be seeing a lot more playing time.
The fourth quarter has easily been the No. 1 weakness of the Sixers this season. In fact, 13 of their 17 losses have been by a margin of 10 points or less. Clearly they have not been able to put away games.
Williams is generally associated with the fourth quarter responsibility. Although he provides a scoring spark, it simply isn't enough. It also doesn't help that the defense always knows the ball is going to him. And he won't pass.
Closing out games is definitely a hard thing to accomplish, especially considering they do not have a set and stone go-to guy and they are a young team. However, they still need to find a way to win at least half of these close games.
The Sixers certainly have their upside, but it is always good to look for ways to improve, especially for such a young squad.
Despite some recent struggles, the Sixers have plenty of time to bring it all together and make a strong run in the playoffs. But if they want to do so, they need to improve on smaller aspects and playing hard every game.