Can Michael Carter-Williams contend for the Rookie of the Year award?
The 76ers aren't going to be too good, but is it a bold prediction to say that the 2013-14 season could still be a very entertaining one?
Philly will be trying to prove its team isn't anywhere near as bad as people think it will be. The only way the Sixers will do so is by playing fast-paced basketball with an emphasis on defense. An up-tempo offense should provide for some exciting highlight plays, and the defense will keep them in games.
The NBA season is a long one, and there's plenty that can unfold between now and the end of the year.
Let's take a look at some more bold predictions for the 2013-14 Sixers.
The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers had the NBA's worst record of all time.
Some people are going as far as saying that the Sixers could end the season with the NBA's worst record of all time. When it comes to an 82-game schedule, the 1972-73 Sixers finished with a 9-73 record, and it was bad enough for the worst season of all time.
The 2013-14 Sixers would have to end the year with eight or less wins in order to have the all-time worst record.
Philadelphia is bad—but not that bad.
Philly could definitely contend for the upcoming season's worst record. It'll just be closer to 18 wins rather than eight.
Spencer Hawes is Philadelphia's only shot-blocker.
There appears to be some promise among Philadelphia's guards, but the team has an incredibly short frontcourt.
Spencer Hawes is Philly's tallest player at 7'1". From there, they have Lavoy Allen at 6'9", Arnett Moultrie at 6'10" and Kwame Brown at 6'11". These are the four bigs who will see the most minutes over the course of the season.
Them, and of course Thaddeus Young, who happens to be 6'8" and playing at power forward.
Brown is good for about four minutes per game, and Moultrie won't return from his ankle surgery until January 2014. This only makes the team smaller.
Philly will be outsized in nearly every game it plays in. The Sixers' lack of height will make it hard for the team to come away with many blocks.
A crucial area for any defense.
It's going to be difficult for Philadelphia to average more blocks than another NBA team. It will finish the year at the bottom.
Thaddeus Young's lack of height will make rebounding difficult.
We've already talked about how short Philadelphia is. Now let's talk about how its lack of height will ultimately kill the team's chances on the boards.
It won't be enough to rely on Hawes and Young to grab the majority of the rebounds. Instead, the team will need Michael Carter-Williams and Evan Turner to contribute on the glass as well.
There's nothing wrong with wanting your guards to participate in the rebounding game. There is a problem if it's because there is a deficiency among the squad's bigs, though.
Another big factor toward the Sixers' rebounding problems will be Nerlens Noel's absence. Noel will likely miss the entire 2013-14 season, and it's going to hurt Philadelphia's block and rebounding numbers.
There isn't one person on the team who will average double-digit rebounds. Honestly, it could be hard for anybody to even average 8.0 rebounds per game.
Finishing last in the NBA in rebounding seems like almost a certainty unless Philadelphia trades for a big with some kind of ability on the boards.
Carter-Williams is all smiles as the season gets underway.
The biggest factor for battle of the Rookie of the Year award could end up coming down to which rookie gets the most playing time.
Here's a look at the past five Rookie of the Year award winners and how many minutes they averaged per game:
|Year||Player||Minutes Per Game|
It's clear that consistently being on the court helps players attain the coveted award.
It's also clear that Carter-Williams will be seeing the floor quite a bit during his rookie year.
Philadelphia doesn't have anything to lose by giving the young point guard loads of minutes. His youth allows the team to throw heavy minutes at him in hopes of accelerating his growth. Carter-Williams is locked in as the Sixers' starting point guard, and he'll stay there regardless of how the organization's season goes.
With an almost endless amount of playing time available, there's no reason for Carter-Williams not to put himself into a position to end the season as the Rookie of the Year.
Can Carter-Williams take care of the basketball?
Yes, you read the headline correctly. Carter-Williams will finish the 2013-14 season with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3-1.
His last year in college saw him averaging 3.4 turnovers per game. In Philadelphia's six preseason games, Carter-Williams has only turned the ball over eight times. He has also tallied 28 assists over that time. For those without a calculator, his numbers make his preseason assist-to-turnover ratio a solid 7-2.
He's proven that he has what it takes to carry this kind of performance into the regular season.
Philly.com's Marc Narducci wrote an article about Carter-Williams taking care of the ball. Here's what the young point guard had to say about his recent success:
Coach wants us to play real fast and I think you are balancing playing really fast and under control. I am trying to play as fast as I can and under control at the same time.
I had a few turnovers in college and I am trying to get better each and every day, and in practice I have had a few turnovers. I am working on trying to take care of the ball and make smart plays.
Continuing to get better at taking care of the basketball will be crucial toward Carter-Williams' future in the NBA.
Getting off to a great start would be nice.
Evan Turner is playing great basketball.
It will have only taken four seasons, but Evan Turner looks like he's on track to turn the corner and become somebody worthy of a prior No. 2 selection.
Turner has been the victim of constant negative criticism. Year after year goes by and it seems like more and more people start to dislike the shooting guard.
It's hard to see why if you only look at his numbers. Turner averaged 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists during the 2012-13 season. Every NBA team would love to have a player like that on their roster, but Turner continually gets looked down at more than he's praised.
The upcoming season is a make-or-break year for the shooting guard, and it looks like he knows it. In five preseason games, Turner has averaged 18.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 7.4 free-throw attempts per game.
Talk about an improvement.
The most important of those stats is the 7.4 free-throw attempts per game. It shows a level of physicality that Turner has failed to reach thus far in his career.
He'll have more than enough time on the floor to put up bigger numbers. We'll just have to see if he can carry his preseason performance over to the regular season.
He certainly looks like he's on the right track.
Turner is playing with a fire this year.
If Turner is going to get better, then don't put it past new general manager Sam Hinkie to trade him for some kind of future piece.
He had a much better 2012-13 season than people gave him credit for, but there isn't much interest from other NBA teams.
Hinkie knows this and he's not blind to Turner's recent success. In fact, Hinkie is probably salivating over it right now.
The Sixers wouldn't be able to get much more than a second-round pick if they tried to trade Turner away right now. If his numbers are all improved and he shows that his ceiling is higher, then there's no reason that his value won't rise.
We've already stated that Turner's 2013-14 season will be a good one; now it's time to say that he'll get moved before the trade deadline hits.
It might be in both Philadelphia and Turner's best interest to eventually make some kind of trade and get rid of the former Ohio State University product.
Philadelphia players already know that Brown is the real deal.
Anybody unsure of new head coach Brett Brown and his philosophies on being the man in charge needs to read Keith Pompey's article in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Here are Brown's views on coaching a team without much talent:
You coach them like you are coaching the Spurs. You tell them that truth. You didn’t box out. You didn’t get back. That is your rotation. That is your man. What pick-in-roll defense are we in? You coach them. And that’s what we are going to do. That’s all I know how to do.
But we are going to coach them. I think by doing that, they will feel that they’ve earned to right to get better. They will feel that they’ve earned the right to steal some wins from time to time.
There you have it. Brown is going to do exactly what's necessary for the coach of a team full of young players.
He's going to treat them like men.
Doing so will give Brown the best opportunity to gain his players' trust—a crucial step toward his future as the head coach in Philadelphia.
His kind of philosophy will quickly gain everybody's respect. It'll probably take place within a month or two of the regular season.
Wroten will be Philadelphia's sixth man.
Tony Wroten opened some eyes with a surprise performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Philadelphia's second preseason game. He broke out with 20 points, went 4-of-8 from three-point range and shot 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in only 22 minutes.
It looks like the Sixers found their sixth man.
Wroten is coming into the 2013-14 season with a relatively easy job. He'll be the first player off Philly's bench, and he'll be asked to defend and score the basketball.
It's the perfect role for the second-year combo guard.
He definitely has the tendency to get a little carried away on the court, but that's common among younger players. Especially younger guards. He gets carried away because of his level of activity, and that's more of a positive than a negative.
It's almost impossible to teach energy.
Wroten looks like he's excited to prove himself in a Sixers uniform. Don't be surprised if you see him average double-digit point totals because of it.
Anderson will be relying on his shooting stroke all year.
James Anderson will start the 2013-14 season out as Philadelphia's starting shooting guard. He won't be asked to be "the guy" or to do anything he isn't capable of. His job will be to do what he's best at—and that's shooting the ball.
Three-point shooting, in particular.
Anderson has lit up the three-point line in his six preseason games so far. He's gone 13-of-27 from beyond that arc, which comes out to just over 48 percent. Is he going to make nearly half of his long balls during the regular season? Most likely not, but he definitely could end the season around 40 percent.
Shooting 40 percent from the three-point line is like the gold standard from that distance.
Anderson definitely has a chance of making it happen.
Thaddeus Young continues to fly under the radar.
Thaddeus Young has a strange way of going unnoticed. During his 2012-13 campaign, he managed to average 14.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and shot the ball at a 53.1 percent clip.
How in the world does that manage to go unnoticed?
Think about this slideshow for example. Young is Philadelphia's best player, but he only has this one slide dedicated to him. I'm writing this article, and that's a little crazy to me.
There is a simple reason for it, though.
It's all because he knows his strengths and doesn't try and do anything outside of his game. There's no need to write multiple slides on Young. We all know what he's going to give the Sixers when game time comes around.
Sure, he is a highlight waiting to happen, but he still manages to fly under the radar during games. He plays his heart out and does a lot of the dirty work that other players aren't willing to do. The result of all of this is Young ending up as an underrated basketball player.
It kind of seems like that's exactly how he likes it.
There will be some empty seats at Sixers games.
On average, the Sixers only filled their stadium up to 82.2 percent of its overall capacity during the 2012-13 season. Philadelphia finished the season as the No. 22-ranked team in this category.
A lack of talent and unknown names will only cause attendance to fall even further.
Only three teams failed to fill up at least 80.0 percent of their stadium last year. Philadelphia will almost certainly fall into this category by the end of the upcoming season. It sucks, but people just aren't too interested in the Sixers if they aren't playing well.
There will be games where the building fills up. It's just going to be because of the away team entering the building, not the Sixers.
Brown won't be playing in too many games this season.
Honestly, would anybody be surprised if Kwame played in less than 10 games during the 2013-14 season.
The craziest part is that nobody cares what he does.
Brown has somehow managed to bounce around the NBA with his mediocre play. He'll go to a city, play like garbage, then get picked up by another organization.
It's really quite amazing.
Kwame will probably get some kind of injury and be able to watch the games from the best seats in the house.
We won't see Nerlens Noel on the court until the 2014-15 season.
Nerlens Noel needs to put his future first. There is no point in playing in a meaningless 2013-14 season if he's only going to risk reinjuring his knee.
Noel needs to take as much time as he can to rehab and come back from a torn left ACL. In all reality, there is no shame in waiting to come back from such a serious injury. Anybody who thinks differently needs to take a look at Derrick Rose. The man sat out for an entire season—like what Noel might be doing—and is coming into the 2013-14 season more explosive than ever.
If missing an entire year is in Noel's best interest to his health, then it's the right decision.
Starting the 2014-15 season off as a rookie would be a good move for both Noel and the Sixers.
Wiggins would be the No. 1 pick if the NBA draft were tomorrow.
And the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft goes to...the Philadelphia 76ers!
OK, back to reality.
Getting the first pick in the upcoming draft would make Philadelphia's plan of tanking for a high draft pick worthwhile.
It would also set the Sixers up for the future.
Andrew Wiggins is on top of nearly everybody's draft boards, but there are a number of players who could end up being drafted at No. 1. Julius Randle, Dante Exum and Jabari Parker are all in the running. Another underdog to keep your eye on is the University of Kansas' Joel Embiid.
All of these players have the potential to turn a franchise around. They each bring something different to the table, though, and an organization’s biggest need could end up being why a particular player is picked.
The Sixers should end the year as one of the NBA's worst teams.
It would give them an upper hand at attaining the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft.