While much of the national media seems to think the Sixers will be atrocious (again), I tend to believe that the team has a good chance of sneaking into the playoffs as a seven or eight seed.
With the additions of Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes, and the important deletion of Eddie Jordan, the Sixers should be much improved, with a young nucleus to build around for this year and beyond.
Lets start out with the easiest positions to predict: the backcourt. Jrue Holiday should be starting at the point, and Evan Turner should be starting at the shooting guard spot. Holiday showed last season that he is a promising young point guard, that has the potential to mature into one of the best point men in the league.
Remember, Jrue is barely 20, and barring some unforeseen occurrence, he should be in the league for a long time. As for Turner, the consensus college player of the year will likely be starting for the majority of the season.
There is a chance that someone like Lou Williams or Willie Green may start at the beginning of the season if Turner is slow to pick up the pro game, but I think Turner should be starting early on in the season.
Now on to the forwards.
The small forward spot is Andre Iguodala's unless he were to get traded. (An unlikely occurrence, seeing how Doug Collins seems to like him.) I know some of you are thinking “Hey, what about Thaddeus Young? Isn't he a 3?” The answer is no, he isn't.
In an interview earlier this year, Collins said that Iguodala was out of place at the 2 and Young was out of place at the 3. There, thats settled. Now on to the hard part...who is going to start at the power forward position?
There seems to be three contenders to start at the 4, Marreese Speights, Elton Brand, and the aforementioned Thaddeus Young. While I do think that Speights will see some time at the 4, I see him spending most of his time at the center spot, leaving Young and Brand. I see this playing out one of two ways.
Either Brand will start, or there will be something akin to a platoon between the two. Brand is one more year away from back-to-back season ending injuries, and the prevailing wisdom is that it takes a couple years to return to full strength.
In addition, Brand should benefit from Dalembert being shipped out, as Brand can now crash the boards and play in the low post more.
Last year, we had two players who were limited to the low post on offense, limiting both of them. If there is a platoon, I would predict that Young would start against the perimeter 4's while Brand gets the nod against the more traditional post 4's.
At the center position there are only two contenders. I think that the job is Spencer Hawes' to lose, but if he doesn't seem to be working out the team will replace him with Speights. Hawes is an intriguing player, because he has a nice perimeter shot and can even hit the three on occasion.
In addition, he's a young player, only 22 years old, and post players typically take longer to develop than perimeter players, so he may be just coming into his own.
See this article for my look at the backups: