Philadelphia 76ers: How Will They Fare in a Packed Eastern Conference?

Eric JohnsonCorrespondent IIIAugust 20, 2012

The Los Angeles Lakers shook up the NBA by landing big man Dwight Howard, but Philadelphia got a nice piece of the deal as well. While they had to give up Andre Iguodala to do so, they did acquire one of the league's best big men in Andrew Bynum.

Bynum, coming off a monster season, will finally be on a team that can focus on making him a large part of the offense. He has the ability to dominate the post on both ends of the floor, but most importantly gives Philadelphia the sizable force they have missed for a long time. 

If Bynum can remain healthy for a second consecutive season, we will finally see what the big man is like as the centerpiece of a team. The 76ers must utilize his full ability to win and could come out on the winning side of the blockbuster trade.

One interesting thing about dishing off Iguodala is to see who steps up for those major minutes. Evan Turner should thrive off this situation and finally tap into his potential. He's been slow in terms of progressing into a great player, but he showed some promising signs late in the 2011-12 season.

Turner is a great rebounder and solid defender, but he must work on his offensive game to succeed in the league. He could benefit from extending his range and hitting consistently, but either way he's a hardworking player with good size.

While Thaddeus Young will continue to see quality minutes, his overall role for Philadelphia could increase. He's extremely quick for a 6'8" forward and can be a bulk scorer off the bench.

Young shoots a sky-high percentage from the field and easily finds ways to get to the rim. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate when the time comes.

Philadelphia also has other guys who will greatly contribute. Jrue Holiday is still a budding point guard with a lot of talent. He is a capable scorer but will likely see his assist totals rise with Bynum in the middle.

This is a team with underrated depth overall. It will be interesting to see how the 76ers insert players like Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright and Nick Young, but it gives them plenty of options for a rotation. All are notable scorers and can succeed in any given role.

One issue that must be addressed is what to do with Spencer Hawes. He's a well-polished seven-footer who can spread the floor, but he isn't exactly an ideal starting power forward. While being a solid rebounder, he could be a nice player for potential trade bait.

As is, Hawes will find a role in Philadelphia. Even if he is an unorthodox power forward, he could still see valuable minutes if he starts. This would be one of the bigger teams in the league, but that's not the worst thing in the world based off the low standards for a typical NBA big man.

Philadelphia has the right pieces in place to finally improve their standing in the East. To say they could get past a team like the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics is a bit premature, but they could definitely threaten if they mesh well.

A coach like Doug Collins never hurts, either. He's one of the more underrated coaches in the league, and he should deal well with all of the young and upcoming talent. Look for him to create ways for this team to thrive and land a mid-level playoff spot in the process.

This is an improved roster that can play effectively on both sides of the ball. They did lose Iguodala and Lou Williams, but they picked up many solid players, including a dominant big man. Philadelphia will have a rather different look, but one that should not be underestimated, to say the least.

This team is for real, and it could look to make a run in the playoffs.