Biggest Takeaways from Philadelphia 76ers' 1st Half of Season
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It's not realistic to make an accurate prediction that says where the Sixers will be at or near the end of the season.
Anything can happen with 39 games left.
Until then, the only thing that's guaranteed is that the games will be played.
That doesn't mean that we didn't learn anything about Philadelphia thus far, though.
The Sixers currently sit at the No. 9 spot in the Eastern Conference with an 18-25 record. Fortunately, there is still quite a bit of time to climb up into the eight spots that reach the postseason. From there, anything is possible.
Until then, let's take a look at what we've learned about the Sixers in the first half of the season.
Jrue Holiday Is a Future Superstar
Holiday has been nothing short of magnificent.
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It would be easy to say that Jrue Holiday might be a future superstar, but going out on a limb and saying that he will be one seems like the right thing to do.
The 19.4 points, 8.9 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game has earned Holiday his first trip to an All-Star Game, and it couldn't be more deserved.
The 22-year-old is in his fourth season and looks like a seasoned veteran.
If it weren't for Holiday's play, then the Sixers would be near the bottom of the NBA. We're not talking about just an average team, but a really bad one.
One of the best ways to test and see if somebody is a star is to compare them to the other stars at their same position. In Holiday's case, he's one of the four best point guards in the East, and arguably one of the seven or eight best in the entire league.
Everything from size to speed to skill has him in position to finish out the season as one of the NBA's top players.
He deserves some recognition for that.
Thaddeus Young Has Proved That He Is a Legitimate Starter
Young is still able to get up and play above the rim.
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Thaddeus Young hasn't been in many highlight reels and isn't the subject of interview after interview, but if people cared about efficiency and execution, then he should be.
There are two important things to remember about Young.
The first is that this is the first time that he's continually started in games in two years. He's been looked at as a great sixth man for the past couple seasons, and rightly so. He always entered the game and played at a high level that either kept the Sixers in the game or helped move them toward victory. Moving into a starting position is an unfamiliar role and one that could be intimidating to most players.
The second is that he hasn't started one game as a small forward this season—his most natural position. Playing power forward at 6' 8", 235 lbs could be one of the harder things to do, yet Young has thrived in that spot.
He has found way after way to make an impact and all as a starter.
It would be difficult to prove that that isn't where he belongs.
Evan Turner's Versatility Is Scary
When it comes to basketball, Turner can do it all.
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The "point forward" position has to be one of the most coveted positions in the game of basketball. It involves being big and strong enough to play against forwards, as well as being a good enough ball-handler and quick enough to play as a guard.
Sometimes even at point guard.
His averages of 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game give a glimpse into his skill set. He's finally turned his shot into a reliable one out to three-point range. Defensively, he's a threat because of his ability to guard up to four positions. He can't defend all of them equally well, but he's still a good option to mix things up.
This season brought a lot of pressure on Turner to live up to being the 2010 NBA draft's No. 2 pick.
He's passing with flying colors.
The Sixers Are in Need of a Big Man
Bynum needs to return for the Sixers to get back into the hunt.
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Andrew Bynum hasn't played a game for the Sixers and his absence is easily reflected by Philadelphia's struggles to rebound and block shots.
They rank at No. 23 in rebounds at 49.0 per game and at No. 17 in blocks at 5.1 per game. Those numbers don't seem astronomically bad, but being at the top of the league in both categories generally leads to better defense and more wins.
The solution to this is to either acquire or get a big man back. Acquiring one through a trade isn't the prettiest of options, though, when you've got Bynum coming back from an injury.
Still, it could be the only reliable one because Bynum's clearly isn't.
Height won't fix all of the Sixers defensive woes; however, it should put them back at the top of the league.
Nick Young's Production Improves with Minutes
Nick Young needs to play with some more swag.
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Nick Young is the definition of a double-edged sword.
The majority of his shots are forced and most people would look at them as bad shots. His 41 percent shooting indicates how poorly he tends to shoot. It's really not because of his ability to shoot the ball, either.
It comes down to bad shot selection.
The other edge of the sword is that there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. A potential issue toward his problem is for him to play more minutes. It sounds ridiculous because why would you play somebody more minutes if they aren't going to be efficient with the basketball.
The crazy thing is that he seems to play well when he gets the playing time.
There have been nine games this year in which Young has played at least 30 minutes or more. In those games, he has averaged 16.1 points per game and shot under his 41 percent field-goal percentage three times.
Does Young need to get more looks for longer periods of time?
Only time will tell.
Getting to the Free-Throw Line Has Been a Problem
Getting to the free-throw line is a direct reflection of how aggressive a team is.
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One of the best ways to win basketball games is to get to the free-throw line.
Philadelphia hasn't figured out that part yet.
The Sixers are second to last in the NBA with 17.2 free-throw attempts per game. If you thought that was bad, then maybe their 12.4 made free throws per game sounds a little worse.
Oh yeah, that puts the Sixers in dead last in that category.
To put it all into perspective, the Oklahoma City Thunder—who have the best record in the NBA—lead the league in made free throws at 22.8 per game.
That's 10.4 points that aren't being added to Philly's score and is a main reason for a lot of the losses.
Doug Collins Is in Danger of Being Fired
Collins' job is on the line.
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Sixers head coach Doug Collins has done a magnificent job at turning Philadelphia into a threat to make the postseason every year. Even last year the Sixers beat the No. 1 seed Chicago Bulls and brought the Boston Celtics to Game 7 and barely lost to go to the Eastern Conference finals.
Unfortunately for Collins, the struggling Sixers have his job on the line, and there is only half a season left to save it.
Saying that his job is on the line could sound like an exaggeration, but it really isn't when you look at the state of the league. Head coaching jobs seem to be on a month-to-month basis.
A job is only safe for so long.
A midseason firing is probably out of the question, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Philadelphia looking for a new head coach if this season isn't turned around by the end of the year.