Spotlighting and Breaking Down Philadelphia 76ers' Small Forward Position
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The Philadelphia 76ers are incredibly weak at small forward and appear to only have one guy who will definitely make the final roster.
The crazy part is even that guy, Evan Turner, isn't a lock to remain with the Sixers for the whole season.
It's rare for there to be such a wide gap in both talent and availability at any given position on an NBA roster. Philadelphia is managing to do the impossible by putting together one that's extremely shallow at small forward.
While there's uncertainty surrounding who will play, there are still a number of possible candidates.
Now, it's important to note that Thaddeus Young is not on this list. Young played his entire career at small forward until moving to power forward for the 2012-13 season. A new coach meant that there was a possibility of Young moving back to his old position, but Arnett Moultrie's recent ankle injury all but solidifies Young's spot as a power forward. Philly would be too weak at the position without him playing there.
Also, I recently had Rodney Williams listed as a small forward in my article on Philadelphia's training camp preview, but that may have been the wrong spot for him. It's possible that he'll see some time at small forward with the Sixers, but his athleticism and lack of strength put him as more of a shooting guard in the professional game.
Okay, where were we?
That's right, let's spotlight and break down Philadelphia's small forwards and see who has a shot at making the team.
Turner is clearly the most talented small forward on the Sixers roster. His 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game would lead you to believe that he is doing a good job with the team.
Unfortunately, that just isn't quite the case.
Turner has been one of Philadelphia's most inconsistent players ever since he was taken with the No. 2 pick in the 2010 draft. He would have two or three games where his numbers would hover around a triple-double, only to have four or five where it looked like he was non-existent.
To be honest, Turner has been heavily criticized—sometimes unfairly—during his time with the Sixers. Expectations have been out the roof, but it's only because he was taken with the No. 2 pick. Being selected that high is great and all, but there is a certain amount of responsibility that comes along with it.
He has failed to live up to this responsibility thus far.
Regardless of if you believe in him or not, Turner is a lock to start at small forward.
All of this negative attention and energy has Turner primed and ready to be traded sometime during the 2013-14 season. The big issue is if anybody will bite and send someone of worth back to the Sixers.
Up to this point, people probably can't blame a team if they don't.
Turner hasn't exactly earned it.
Stats: 14.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 34.3 minutes.
Will his anxiety disorder keep him from playing in games for the Sixers?
White talked during media day about his anxiety, saying it wasn't as bad as people believed it was. In fact, he told the media he was going to try and make the trip to Spain for Philadelphia's first preseason game.
Talking about it is one thing, making it happen is obviously another as White failed to make the trip. Keith Pompey is a Sixers beat writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer who traveled to Spain to cover the team. He responded to a tweet asking if White was with the team:
Philadelphia personnel and fans of the squad can't be the only ones disappointed by this news. White has to feel like he can't catch a break with his anxiety as it keeps him from even attempting to have a successful NBA career.
Preliminary signs are pointing toward a long, game-free season for White. Wanting to see him play and actually witnessing him compete are two very different things, and he hasn't given anybody much of a reason to believe that he is truly ready to do this.
Hopefully he's able to face his fears and truly conquer his anxiety. Not just on a professional level, but also from a personal perspective.
I at least want to see the guy do well.
Stats: Honestly, it looks like he won't be suiting up in Philly. If you don't travel, then you generally don't even play at home. We'll see though.
Thompson is my favorite underdog to not only make the Sixers final roster, but to actually get some regular season playing time.
There were times at Georgetown University when he seemed to disappear on the floor. He would defer to his teammates on the offensive end of the court, even though he's fully capable of doing his thing with the ball in his hands.
Will Evan Turner get traded?
Being reluctant to attack on offense isn't something that works too well in the NBA. Still though, he isn't in college anymore.
He might have been passive with the rock, but he managed to get the job done when he did step up and try to score the basketball. He went 128-291 from three-point range over the course of his three years at Georgetown. Shooting close to 44 percent from out deep is great for one season, let alone averaging it over the course of three years.
Thompson has the NBA range on his shot, and at 6' 8" he has more than enough length to defend other small forwards.
Getting away from being timid will be his biggest battle. If he's able to do that, then he could be a solid option off the bench in the mold of a three-point specialist.
Stats: 2.2 Points, 1.4 rebounds and 8.6 Minutes.
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