Post All-Star Break Predictions for the Philadelphia 76ers
Sometimes, it’s good to recalibrate.
For the Philadelphia 76ers this season, the only constant has been change. From starting the year with a revamped roster to the epidemic of injuries leading to the carousel of starting lineups and 10-day contracts, it’s been frustrating to say the least.
For coach Doug Collins, it has become a routine recalibration, full of shuffling men in and out of the rotation, full of trial and error. Mostly error.
The end result thus far has been nothing short of a disappointment.
On the flip side, however, yours truly made some predictions before the New Year which did not completely disappoint. One came to fruition (Jrue Holiday making the All-Star Game) and one sort of did (Spencer Hawes did reclaim his starting role—as a center—and has stepped up).
Three others are TBD: Andrew Bynum’s pending return and contract situation, a trade deadline acquisition and winning a round in the playoffs.
With the benefit of hindsight—and at least a faint ability of foresight—I now reserve the right to do my own recalibrating.
The Sixers Still Make a Deadline Deal—but Evan Turner Stays
If we commit ourselves to insisting the glass remains half full (but don't ask what it's full of), there is a sliver or a silver lining that presents itself. With some cap flexibility and a handful of expiring contracts, the Sixers could potentially be a major player in a trade deadline deal.
With that said, expect some sort of movement, but probably nothing more than a small tremor.
As for the Evan Turner rumors, expect him to remain in town. Although there is a general feeling of disappointment with his career trajectory thus far, he is still young, there is still a ceiling that has yet to be hit and, quite frankly, Philly would need to be dazzled by a deal to justify parting with the former No. 2 overall pick.
A more realistic—and smaller scale—move would be a low-risk, low-gain pickup of someone like Louis Amundson, waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this month and who had a cup of coffee with the Sixers several years back.
Andrew Bynum Still Suits Up—but for No More Than 20 Games
It's now become a Philadelphia staple, right up there with cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and a bell with a big crack: predicting Andrew Bynum's return to the court.
As we approach month six of the "Bynum Watch," the answer seems to loom ever closer. But even when/if it occurs, it should amount to nothing more than an extended cameo, with at least a few missed games happening even after his return. The next question: Will it be enough to earn a long-term deal?
Tune in for my next prediction recalibration for that answer.
This Will Be the Final Year as a Sixer for Swaggy P, Wright...and Collins
Nick Young and Dorell Wright were two acquisitions during last offseason's overhaul. Since being inserted into the starting lineup, Swaggy P has almost raised his game back to the initial expectation most people had. Wright, however, has been a general disappointment.
Both are in the final year of their respective contracts. Expect both to have a new mailing address next year.
For Young, there will always be a market for serviceable shooting guards who can score in spurts. But he really doesn't do anything in particular special. If the prognosis gets bleaker for the fate of the injured Jason Richardson, maybe the Sixers throw an offer Swaggy's way, but they won't lose sleep if they get outbid.
And as for Doug Collins, it's looking more and more like Collins Burnout has once again manifested itself—and right on schedule. In his previous stops at Chicago, Detroit and Washington, there has typically been about a three-year shelf life.
An obvious lack of effort and multiple mental lapses have occurred with regularity for the Sixers. Either these issues are not being emphasized by the coaching staff or the players are no longer listening. Either way, that falls on Collins.
Every Player on the Roster Will Start a Game Before the Season Ends
Wait. Every player on the roster will start a game, you ask? That's crazy, you say.
However, I then remind you that 11 players already have, including the since-departed Maalik Wayns. Which means there are only three active players left (Jeremy Pargo, Arnett Moultrie and Damien Wilkins) plus Bynum.
Pargo has left a favorable impression in his short time in town so far, Moultrie showed promise once he started getting extended minutes and hell, even Wilkins came out of his shell to drop 13 on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
So yes, 15 men will get to experience tipoff up close and personal in a Sixers' uniform. In a year where only change has been constant, would you expect anything less?
Sixers Don’t Make the Playoffs—nor Win a Round—after All
Remember when I went out on a limb and predicted a miraculous turnaround for the Sixers in 2013, complete with a stunning first-round upset?
I think I'll be getting off that limb now.
When it rains, it pours, and it's time to build an ark in Philadelphia. Through a combination of bad luck (mainly in the form of injuries), poor chemistry and looks-good-solely-on-paper offseason moves, it may be time to call a mulligan on the season.
Until, of course, something changes, and I reserve the right to recalibrate. Again.