Predicting the Philadelphia 76ers Revamped Rotation for 2013
The Philadelphia 76ers roster has undergone a massive transformation this summer. Only five players from last year's squad will be returning this season, and fan's couldn't be happier.
From the acquisition of All-Star center Andrew Bynum to shooters Nick Young and Dorell Wright, this team figures to take on a much different personality than the 2011-12 edition of the Sixers that fell to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
With a well-rounded roster and head coach Doug Collins leading the charge, expectations should be elevated as the Sixers approach the start of the 2012-13 campaign.
While it's still early, here's a look at the Sixers revamped rotation.
Point Guard: Jrue Holiday
Estimated Minutes Per Game: 34-36
To earn that max contract extension he's reportedly been clamoring for, Jrue Holiday will need to step up in a big way this season.
Holiday was solid last season, just not spectacular. The third-year point guard averaged 13.5 points, 4.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game in 2011-12, but his numbers stand to improve with a plethora of new, talented faces around him.
Holiday has never been the facilitator you would expect a point guard to be, but with Bynum and some shooters in the fold, he should see a spike in assists this season.
Where Holiday truly shined last year was the postseason, where the Sixers' floor general averaged 15.8 points in 38 minutes of work per contest.
Holiday also managed to shoot better than 40 percent from three-point range in the postseason, an encouraging sign heading into a contract year.
Shooting Guard: Jason Richardson
Estimated Minutes Per Game: 28-30
While Andrew Bynum was the clear prize in last week's blockbuster trade, the addition of Jason Richardson should not be pushed aside in the minds of the Philadelphia faithful.
Richardson's spot in the starting lineup really makes sense, when you look at it.
People will make arguments for Evan Turner as the starting 2-guard, with Dorell Wright starting at the 3, but Richardson will provide a consistent, veteran presence in a starting lineup that's otherwise devoid of valuable experience.
Although he's coming off of his worst seasons as a pro, Richardson has never failed to average fewer than 29 minutes per game over the course of a season.
Given Richardson's experience and the Sixers moderate financial commitment to him, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him start over Wright.
Small Forward: Evan Turner
Estimated Minutes Per Game: 32-34
Now the 76ers' primary defensive stopper, Evan Turner will have to pick up the slack on the perimeter, where Andre Iguodala previously made life difficult for the opposition.
Turner may not be in the same conversation as Iguodala in terms of athleticism, but his 6'7'', 205 pound frame and aggressive style of play should help his cause.
Aside from playing a new role, Turner will enter the 2012-13 season locked in as a starter, a first for the point-forward at the professional level.
As we've seen in a limited sample, Turner is at his best when the ball is in his hands, so don't be surprised to see him bring the ball up on more than a few occasions.
Jrue Holiday is actually a more natural scorer, and Turner a more natural ball-handler, so their roles may not exactly line up with their listed positions.
Power Forward: Spencer Hawes
Estimated Minutes Per Game: 15-18
After signing Kwame Brown, head coach Doug Collins made it clear that he wanted to experiment with a frontcourt pairing of Spencer Hawes and Brown.
Now, with Andrew Bynum locked in as the team's starting center, there's some speculation that Hawes' place in the starting lineup could be in jeopardy.
I tend to disagree with those saying Hawes doesn't belong in the starting lineup. Yes, Hawes' upside is limited, but just because he's a starter doesn't mean he's going to play a big role in crunch time.
It makes sense, really. Doug Collins has coached this team for two years with barely any depth in the frontcourt, and now that he has more than he can handle, he's going to utilize it to the best of his abilities.
It's rare that you see two seven-footers paired together in the same frontcourt, but as we have seen in Los Angeles, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum were able to co-exist to a degree.
If Hawes can take on a Gasol-like role(despite the disparity in skill), playing 10-12 feet from the basket while using his vision to create opportunities for Bynum and the wings, the arrangement could actually work out quite nicely.
Center: Andrew Bynum
Estimated Minutes Per Game: 35-37
Not only do the Sixers have their first true superstar since Allen Iverson, they have their first true center since trading for Dikembe Mutombo in February of 2001.
For now, let's forget that Bynum only has one year remaining on his contract and focus on his potential impact on the court.
Assuming Bynum stays healthy, the Sixers have acquired the best low-post center in the game. In his breakout 2011-12 campaign, Bynum averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in about 35 minutes of work per night.
Those numbers trump any production, no matter how pleasantly surprising it was, that the Sixers got out of Spencer Hawes, Elton Brand and Lavoy Allen last season.
Another statistical tidbit: Bynum actually shot eight percentage points better from the free-throw line last season (69.2 percent) than Andre Iguodala (61.7 percent).
I think we can all agree that some consistency from the free-throw line could be a huge plus for a Sixer team that struggled mightily from the charity stripe last season.
Sixth Man: Nick Young
Estimated Minutes Per Game: 23-25
With Lou Williams now situated in Atlanta, Nick Young figures to be the Sixers' primary scoring threat off of the bench.
Williams was instant offense during his tenure in Philadelphia, and while Young may be more inconsistent, he's a more reliable defender than Williams ever was.
When Young enters the game it will presumably be to spell Jason Richardson, creating a nice platoon at shooting guard. For years the Sixers have been in desperate need of perimeter shooting, and they are now blessed with several players who can shoot without hesitation.
Now, in Young and Richardson, the Sixers have two proven scorers (now matter how streaky they may be) who are capable of filling it up at a moment's notice.
Young averaged 14.2 points per game last season, and at 6'7'' could even fill in at the 3, if necessary.
Primary Reserve: Thaddeus Young
Estimated Minutes Per Game: 24-27
The critics of Spencer Hawes will already calling for Thaddeus Young to be the starting 4 alongside Andrew Bynum, but we've been given no indication to this point that Thad will move from his established role on the bench.
The starting lineup would be much more compelling with Young slotted in at power forward, but his role as a primary reserve off of the bench is one that he's thrived in under Doug Collins.
Just because Young is designated as a bench player doesn't mean his production will be limited, and in fact, I think it stands to improve with this refurbished lineup.
Playing alongside some capable rebounders, Young should have more freedom to operate, ultimately using his athleticism and length to create matchup problems for opponents.
Spencer Hawes may end up being the starter at the 4, but Young is the guy who will end up being the difference maker.
Primary Reserve: Dorell Wright
Estimated Minutes Per Game: 16-20
Dorell Wright could end up being a significant contributor to this Sixer team, but as of now, his role feels a bit uncertain.
Wright feels like a natural fit at the 3, coming off of the bench as the primary backup to Evan Turner. At 6'9'', Wright can help replace some of Andre Iguodala's length on the perimeter, and has shown in the past that he can be a matchup problem for opposing wings.
Wright averaged 10.8 points in 27 minutes per game in 2011-12, and I don't think it would be unreasonable to expect similar production despite playing fewer minutes.
Matchups and in-game situations figure to dictate a great deal of Wright's playing time, but he's too valuable a weapon not to utilize his unique skill set.
Doug Collins has done a good job of maximizing his players' potential in the past, so expect him to get the most he can out of Wright.
Backup Forward: Lavoy Allen
Estimated Minutes Per Game: 8-10
Last season's biggest surprise, Temple University's Lavoy Allen showed no fear in his first NBA season.
Now entering year two, Allen has locked up a roster spot, something not many people thought he could have done after being selected No. 50 overall in the 2011 NBA draft.
As the season approaches, Allen will need to separate himself from the pack in training camp, as he'll be scrapping for minutes in a crowded frontcourt.
With Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young, Andrew Bynum and Kwame Brown all set with concrete roles, Allen will need to exemplify the skill and poise that earned him extended minutes last season.
Allen may not be as efficient as he was in year one, but if Doug Collins trusts him to get the job done before a guy like Brown, he could be a solid contributor once again.
Backup Center: Kwame Brown
Estimated Minutes Per Game: 9-12
Thank goodness for Andrew Bynum. Had it not been for his arrival, Brown would have been slated for starter's minutes, something no one would have been able to get excited about.
Signing Brown may feel a bit useless with Bynum in the fold, but he's actually a competent backup center who could be of some use to Doug Collins' bunch this season.
Brown is a total offensive liability, but he's a capable low-post banger who has the size necessary to defend some of the Eastern Conference's more imposing centers.
If nothing else, Brown adds size to a Sixers frontcourt that has been faced with an identity crisis for more than a decade.
Reserve: Arnett Moultrie
Estimated Minutes Per Game: DNP-6
Arnett Moultrie is a prospect 76ers' fans can get excited about, but he's likely to play a small role this season.
With so much depth in the frontcourt, Moultrie will find that minutes are hard to come by, especially as a rookie in Doug Collins' system.
It's safe to say Lavoy Allen's emergence last season was an anomaly, and that Collins is typically wary of giving rookies extensive playing time. Need evidence? Just look at the rookie seasons of Evan Turner and Nikola Vucevic.
It's possible Moultrie will see many DNP-CD (Did Not Play-Coach's Decision) tags in the box score this season, but the ability to learn the NBA game and hone his craft should be a plus for the future of the franchise.
Reserve: Royal Ivey
Estimated Minutes Per Game: 4-7
Recently signed by the Sixers, Royal Ivey's title as backup point guard is slightly misleading.
While the team's depth chart will slot Ivey in behind Jrue Holiday at the 1, it's more likely that you'll see guys like Evan Turner pick up the slack at point when Holiday needs a rest.
Ivey figures to spend most of his season on the bench, but with some good NBA experience, the soon to be 31-year-old could be a nice veteran presence in the locker room.
On one of the league's youngest teams, Ivey's veteran savvy can help the Sixers as they begin to form a new identity.