Philadelphia 76ers Players Who Must Step Up in Second Half of the Season

Zachary ArthurCorrespondent IIJanuary 25, 2013

Philadelphia 76ers Players Who Must Step Up in Second Half of the Season

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    If the Philadelphia 76ers want to use the little time they have left to turn their season around and save it, then it's going to require that certain members of the team step up.

    Go down the list of Sixers starters and their seasons have been pretty good. Not many people are going to ever have seasons like Jrue Holiday is having, so that's a unique circumstance, but most of the starters playing next to him are stepping up and producing as well.

    As for some of the other role players? Not so much.

    These are the guys that fill in the gaps of an organization. The guys that occasionally save the day with an amazing performance, but more importantly, the guys that come in and do what they are supposed to.

    The guys that help to prevent a 17-25 start to the season.

    Up to this point, there are multiple Sixers who have not lived up to their potential, and a change in play will be needed as the season moves forward.

    Here's a list of five Philadelphia players who must step up in the second half of the season.

    Statistics are accurate as of Jan. 24, 2013.

Spencer Hawes, C

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    Spencer Hawes is the kind of player that you are secretly happy to have on your team, but if somebody asks if you know what team he plays on, then you quickly say that you aren't sure.

    Having a seven-footer who is capable of knocking down three-point shots should be viewed as a weapon, but it doesn't feel like that in Philly. It's unclear whether it's Hawes himself or the opportunities he's being given, yet he seems to be stuck in the natural mediocrity that is being a big man in the NBA.

    He isn't a starter, so he shouldn't be viewed as one, but he still has more than enough talent to separate himself from a large majority of good power forwards and centers. Hawes just has more skill level than most of them.

    Watch any Sixers game and one of the questions that could come to mind is if he's even interested in the game taking place. There are stretches where he completely withdraws himself from the court and appears to be going through the motions.

    Having a reliable big coming off of the bench could be used as a weapon and is more than useful in today's game. Philly isn't far from having just that.

    Hawes controls what comes, so maybe he'll turn into a bit more of a threat.

Lavoy Allen, PF

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    6.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 55.7 percent shooting in 19.7 minutes per game. Those happened to be Lavoy Allen's numbers during the 2012 playoffs.

    Numbers like those happen to be extremely productive for those that can't tell, and it would lead some to believe that there could be bigger and better numbers around the corner.

    Unfortunately, that just hasn't been the case.

    He's currently averaging 6.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 47.1 percent shooting in 22.8 minutes per game.

    Is he getting significantly more playing time than he did in last year's postseason? No, he's not. Still though, at 23 years old, it would be nice to see some improvement over that time frame.

    Allen has been playing out of position for nearly all of the season. Hopefully the return of (a certain player that won't be named until later on in the article) will lead to Allen playing at power forward instead of center and help to lead into more production.

Nick Young, SG

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    He's second to only Andrew Bynum, but Nick Young has been one of Philadelphia's biggest disappointments thus far.

    Let's get straight to the point on this one. Young has been a bad shooter in his time with the Sixers. There are no other words that need to be said, but we'll add a few for kicks and giggles.

    Shooting 41 percent from the floor is highly frowned upon—but wait—Young is doing just that. At first glance it seems like he is just not hitting shots, but that isn't really the problem at all.

    The root of the poor shooting numbers start and end with his shot selection.

    If you are a religious watcher of programs that show Top-10 plays, then there's a good chance that you've seen one of Young's crazy shots on one of those lists. What's the problem with that? The problem is that for every one of those great shots that goes through the hoop, comes 15 bad attempts that didn't find a way in.

    He takes a lot of really bad shots. That's how it has to be put.

    An improved shot selection should lead to higher shooting numbers and increased production—both of which have the potential to significantly help the Sixers move in a positive direction as the season moves forward.

Royal Ivey, PG

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    Royal Ivey's performance hasn't been anything to be disgusted in, however, Philadelphia could really use a little more out of him.

    Just a little bit more.

    Most players probably don't want to be looked at as breath-giver, but that's exactly what Ivey's role is. His job is to give Holiday an opportunity to go to the bench and catch his breath.

    That is kind of a brutal way to put it, but they do say that the truth hurts, right? In this case, the truth is that Holiday is playing like a superhero, but even superheroes need some rest.

    The ultimate goal of Ivey coming in and providing reliable minutes as the backup point guard would be for there to not be much of an overall drop in play while Holiday is on the bench.

    Ivey is currently averaging 11.3 minutes per game, which means that he gets more than enough court time to make an impact.

    He may not be the most important person on this list, but he could be vital toward a postseason push.

Andrew Bynum, C

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    Believe it or not, but it sounds like the man, the myth and the legend himself is nearing his return to the game that has caused him numerous knee injuries.

    No, not bowling—but basketball.

    Returning to the court means returning to your team and it's a new and fresh feeling for the Philadelphia 76ers. Who knows if people will even recognize Bynum in a Sixers jersey, but something tells me that everything will go fine from the recognition standpoint.

    As for the on-court performance? Well, I'm not so sure on this one.

    The talent is definitely there, but nobody knows if his body will hold up.

    Having a healthy Bynum for the last 25 games, though unlikely, could help to turn the Sixers into a playoff team. That is really where Philly and it's fans need to be looking at right now. Maybe this just isn't the season for a championship.

    Either way, this season is still the perfect time to build the team for next year's championship contending squad.

    Bynum isn't just an important player for that to happen.

    He's a necessity.