5 Keys to Watch as Sixers Make Playoff Push in Season's 2nd Half

PJ BernackiCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 31: Thaddeus Young #21 and Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers high five in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center on October 31, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers won 84-75. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images


It has not been a good year for Philadelphia sports fans, and news of Andrew Bynum's knee injury did not make things any better. What looked like a promising season for the Sixers has turned into a disappointing struggle to even make the playoffs. If they hope to turn it around, these five keys need to be of utmost importance for the remainder of the season.

1. Bench Allen and Start Hawes

Lavoy Allen, the second-year big man out of Temple, has gotten the majority of the starts this season over Spencer Hawes, who has not started a single game (even the ancient Kwame Brown has gotten ten starts this season).

Allen made a splash in last year’s playoffs by making baskets in crucial situations, but this season he has been pitiful. Averaging around 23 minutes per game, he is putting up only 6.6 points and 5.2 rebounds a game. Hawes, who plays the same amount of time, averages 9.6 points and 5.9 rebounds a game.


2. Don’t Dwell on the Bynum Trade

The Sixers gave up a lot to get Bynum from the Lakers this offseason, and although he may never play a game with the club, it’s important that they don’t get too down or frustrated about it.

This is hard to do when losing fan-favorite Andre Iguodala and two promising young players in Nikola Vucevic and Maurice Harkless. Due to all of the losses, Jrue Holiday has stepped into the leader role and is playing phenomenally, but needs to get his team more focused and determined.


3. More Production out of the Shooting Guards

Jason Richardson and Nick Young need to produce better-quality minutes than they have been this year. Both new acquisitions for 2012-13, Young and Richardson both average a little over 10 points a game and put up laughable numbers in the rebounds, assists and steals columns. This is especially unacceptable for Richardson, who starts almost every game and plays about 28 minutes.


4. Holiday’s Continued Stellar Play

Point guard Jrue Holiday, has taken over this team. If the Sixers have any hope for a postseason push in the second half, than he has to continue racking up 19.4 points and 9 assists per game. Last year, Iguodala was the one Philadelphia turned to in late-game situations, but now Holiday has the confidence and skill to take over that role.

However, to help his team out he is going to need to cut down his turnovers a little bit. For a star point guard, recording over four turnovers a game is not acceptable, and it’s not how Coach Doug Collins wants to play ball.


5. Put More Faith in Role Players

Small forward Thaddeus Young has always been a solid player for the Sixers. He plays great defense, has a high basketball IQ, and most importantly, he is an extremely hard worker.

This year, he is beginning to prove that he can be an offensive threat with his 15 points a game. Most of his points are easy buckets, but for a team that struggles to put up a lot of points, it may be time to think about running more plays for these up-and-coming players.

The same can be said about Evan Turner, who has turned out to be a very average player, but one whose his confidence is growing. For the second half of this season, if the team continues this unimpressive record, Doug Collins should spread the responsibilities around instead of putting the team on Holiday’s back.