Grading Every Key Philadelphia 76ers Player Heading into All-Star Break
It felt like the Philadelphia 76ers got off to a bumpy start by winning some games early in the season, but they've definitely gotten back to where they should be by going into the NBA All-Star break with a 15-39 record.
Philly currently has the second-worst record in the league behind the Milwaukee Bucks and is in place for a high draft pick. The strange part is that the Sixers are one of the NBA's worst teams, but they've actually had some pretty good individual performances during the season.
The team's record just means there are more negatives than anything else.
Here's a look at the grades for the Sixers' key players heading into the All-Star break.
Key Statistics: 2.5 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.5 SPG, 38.2 FG%
Brandon Davies was brought in with the Sixers’ last roster spot before the start of the regular season and has been exactly who the team needed him to be. It's hard to find much but heart at the end of the bench, so it's been nice to see Davies step up and fill that role.
There's nothing special about any of his statistics, as he's only scored in double digits once this season, yet there's nothing wrong with any of that. His job is to give the team about 10 hustle minutes a game and he's effective when he's allowed the time.
Hurting his finger in the middle of January has put any kind of contributions on hold until at least the end of February, but he's done what he's needed to in order to warrant a roster spot.
Key Statistics: 4.9 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 37.4 FG%, 33.3 3P%
The one good part about the Sixers losing 18 of their last 21 games is that the team is able to give players like Elliot Williams more playing time. It took him a little to get going, but Williams has begun to make the most out of his higher minute totals.
He's scored at least seven points in seven out of his last eight games and managed to knock down 47.8 percent of his three-point attempts.
At this point in the season, Williams isn't playing for much more than to prove that he's a legitimate NBA player. Philadelphia won't be asking him to do anything he isn't capable of, so it'll be interesting to see if he's able to make his name stick in this league.
Key Statistics: 5.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 43.8 FG%, 15.4 3P%
Let's start off with a question. Who told Lavoy Allen he can shoot three-pointers?
Weird and random questions like these tend to leave a sour taste in someone's mouth when they initially see Allen play. Noticing how it doesn't look like he puts in much extra time toward getting better off the floor is just the icing on the cake.
The most frustrating part of all is how it looks like Allen could be a good player. The kind of guy you can bring in for 20 minutes a game and get great production out of. He's certainly coordinated and strong enough to succeed as a power forward, it just looks as though he feels like he's more of a guard in a bigger body.
Random bright flashes haven't been enough for Allen to be looked at as one of the Sixers' strong players.
Key Statistics: 5.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 47.0 FG%, 36.0 3P%
Hollis Thompson has had quite the journey in the past year. He went from a starter with the Georgetown Hoyas to going undrafted and finally signing a free-agent deal with the Sixers before the start of the 2013-14 season.
Since then, he's gone on to play in 50 games, start 18 of them and average 21.1 minutes per contest.
Pretty impressive for someone who was fighting to make the regular-season roster.
Thompson has turned into a reliable threat from out deep, but it's his versatility on both the defensive and offensive ends of the floor that's gotten him some solid playing time. He's done a great job of not only making an NBA roster, but proving that he's in the right place.
Key Statistics: 9.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 31.2 3P%, 28.4 MPG
James Anderson had previously played in a total of 116 games for two different teams in his first three NBA seasons. His previous high for minutes per game was 11.8 and he had only started in six total games.
Things have certainly changed in Philadelphia.
Anderson has played in 56 games for the Sixers and started 34 of them while averaging 28.4 minutes per game. The increase in playing time is due to what he's able to do on offense. His outside jumper is exceptional, and although he went through a rough stretch, it looks as though his 36.7 three-point percentage in February means that he's turning it back around.
There will definitely be a roster shakeup during the 2014-15 season, but Anderson may have done enough to show Philadelphia's management that he belongs on the team.
Key Statistics: 12.7 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 41.6 FG%
Tony Wroten did some gross (in a good way) things when it came to basketball over the 2013 offseason. A number of highlight-reel dunks and crossovers looked great during the summer, but nobody knew if he would be able to take that onto an NBA court.
Any concerns that people may have had should be answered by now. Wroten isn't just succeeding with the Sixers, he's thriving.
Everything from Wroten's triple-double in his first career start to continuing to show off in the dunk game has him in position as one of the team's most important players. He's especially tough to guard because he's a good shooter, great off the dribble and can finish at the rim.
There’s no doubt that he’s dangerous off the bench and needs to be taken seriously by any opponent.
Wroten has been a reliable sixth man up to this point and there’s no reason he won’t keep it going.
Key Statistics: 13.2 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.3 BPG, 40.3 3P%
If we were taught to judge a book by its cover, then Spencer Hawes would look like he's nothing more than another mediocre, big-bodied 7-footer with clumsy footwork.
Looks can be very deceiving, though, as Hawes is nothing like what was mentioned above.
Sure, he's a big-bodied 7-footer, but he'll use his frame to his advantage by stretching the floor and knocking down big shots. If the shot isn't there, he'll display his above-average quickness and ball-handling ability to penetrate and create opportunities for himself and others.
His offense has been more than Philly could have ever asked for, and he rounds it all out with fantastic hustle and a defensive presence in the post.
Hawes has been great, but the Sixers could be looking to trade him while his value is at its highest. Regardless of what happens, he's been a fixture for Philly up to this point of the season and is playing the best basketball of his career.
Key Statistics: 17.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 48.0 FG%, 32.2 3P%
Thaddeus Young can do it all.
Young's best quality isn't just his ability as a basketball player or his attitude on and off the court, it's the way he's able to combine the two. Gordie Jones wrote an article for Lancaster Online that looked into Young's character:
Besides being a very capable player — his 17.3 (Older statistic) point-per-game average this year is a career high — he is a consummate pro, and a peach of a guy. First-year coach Brett Brown, the fifth man for whom Young has toiled in his seven seasons in Philadelphia, recently called him “a gentleman,” more or less echoing each of his predecessors.
Doug Collins, the team’s previous boss, went so far as to say that Young was his favorite player. And while Collins was prone to overstatement, you can see where he (and everybody else) was coming from: Young gives an honest day’s effort, does what he is asked without complaint and understands his obligations do not end at the final buzzer.
To be able to maintain his kind of attitude despite the constant trade speculation is impressive. To be able to perform on the court with his outside distractions is absolutely amazing.
He's one of the most important people in Philadelphia's organization and a key member of its foundation. It would be difficult to see him go as part of a trade.
Key Statistics: 17.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 3.6 APG, 43.2 FG%
We could definitely spend some time discussing Evan Turner and if he will end up getting moved by the trade deadline, but that would get away from the goal of this article. We're giving grades to members of the Sixers and things have looked pretty good when it comes to Turner.
He had always possessed an all-around game when you look at his ability to rebound and bring the ball up the court, but his production never matched his selection as the No. 2 pick in the 2010 draft. At least, it never had until this season.
Turner has become Philadelphia's leading scorer and suddenly boosted his value in a pretty noticeable way.
Who knows if it's the trade talks or what, but he's started February in quite a slump. His game averages of 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists have to have people wondering who the real Turner is?
Still, though, seeing him succeed this season is definitely making the 2010 draft taste a lot less sour.
Key Statistics: 17.1 PPG, 6.5 APG, 5.4 RPG, 2.1 SPG, 39.6 FG%
Michael Carter-Williams hasn't only taken over as Philadelphia's starting point guard, but he's done so in a way where the position's production hasn't fallen off at all.
Compare Jrue Holiday's 2012-13 season with Philly to Carter-Williams' 2013-14 year and the numbers don't look too different:
|Sixers Starting Point Guard||Points Per Game||Assists Per Game||Rebounds Per Game||Steals Per Game||Field-Goal Percentage|
|Jrue Holiday (2012-13)||17.7||8.0||4.2||1.6||43.1|
|Michael Carter-Williams (2013-14)||17.1||6.5||5.4||2.1||39.6|
There are a number of small advantages for both players, but the crazy thing is how the numbers above took place during Holiday's fourth NBA season.
This is only Carter-Williams' first.
Developing a reliable jumper is No. 1 on his list of improvements, but there's no way he doesn't know that. The man putting these numbers up is the same guy who 10 teams passed on in the 2013 draft.
He's bound to have some weaknesses, but his play up to this point proves that he'll put the work in to improve in his rougher areas.
Carter-Williams has been nothing short of exceptional up to this point and it'll be exciting to see what else he's able to accomplish.