Expect the two highest paid sixers to make the starting five
The 76ers will start the 2010-2011 season looking quite differently than they did last season. Several new pieces to the puzzle, some departed players, some talented young guys, and a brand new coach make it quite interesting to try to nail down exactly who will start opening day against Miami Thrice at the Wells Fargo Center.
New head coach Doug Collins will have a number of possible combinations to choose from, some of which may make the Sixers playoff contenders, while others may cause the team to fall further into bad times. Here's a look at a possible starting five for the Sixers.
It seems pretty clear who the consensus pick is for the Sixers point guard spot, Jrue Holiday, who proved throughout last season that he was indeed a steal in the draft and that he has a bright future as an NBA point guard.
His ball movement was impeccable and the Sixers offense looked so much more fluent when he was handling the ball. His impressive rookie campaign put an abrupt end to the Lou Williams point guard experiment, and that will prove to be a good thing for both of their careers.
Collins will not make the same mistake that Eddie Jordan did, which was bring Holiday along slowly. Jrue will be starting every night and is the present and the future for the Sixers at basketball's most important position. Some may even dare to say that for the Sixers, he's a "dream come Jrue."
The shooting guard position may have been the most contentious position for the Sixers over the last few years. It has been a whirlwind trying to nail down a starter at that spot, and it seems like each year Andre Iguodala tries to play it and just does not fit.
The position has also been inhabited by players like Willie Green, Lou Williams, and Allen Iverson recently, but that all changes now.
Some may say that Turner should come off the bench to learn for a little while, but if we learned anything from examples like Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young, sometimes bringing a player along slowly just is not necessary if they are ready to play.
Evan Turner is clearly ready to play, he is clearly a shooting guard, and he will clearly join Jrue Holiday in the Sixers starting backcourt for years to come.
Doug Collins' starting small forward will be no surprise. Andre Iguodala is the man. After his USA experience this summer, he will be poised to have a breakout season.
Collins will lean on Iguodala as a leader, and will call on him to set the tone defensively, and to play smart offensively.
Iguodala will finally get to play the entire season at his natural and best position, small forward, because of the arrival of Evan Turner to anchor the shooting guard spot.
Iguodala has the strength and physicality to defend small forwards, and he has the athleticism to score on them.
Power forward may indeed be the toughest position to predict for the Sixers' starting five. There are three candidates including Young, Elton Brand, and Marreese Speights. Although Young is not the prototypical power forward, he has played the position quite effectively throughout his career.
Although experts say that his natural position is small forward, Young seems to be more versatile while playing the four because of his lack of a consistent long-range game. He is a nightmare for power forwards to defend because of his speed and athleticism, which allows him to get out on the break.
Collins will utilize Young at the four spot and with Holiday, Turner, and Iguodala alongside him, the Sixers will have one of the most athletic teams in the league.
Sure, Elton Brand has struggled since coming to the City of Brotherly Love, but he will start at center for Doug Collins,
Collins had made it clear that he plans to revitalize Elton Brand. He has a close relationship with Duke University, Elton's alma mater, due to his son being an assistant there and Collins has pledged to use that tie to get Elton playing at a high level again.
We may never see 20-point, 10-rebound Brand again, but if Collins can get him close, that will suffice.
Although undersized, center is the best spot for Brand because of his lack of speed. The Sixers strength is running, and with Brand at four, they struggle to get into transition because they only have three players on the court who can handle the ball in transition. With Brand at the five spot, they will have four players capable of handling the rock on the run. Collins knows that is when the Sixers play best.
Speights and Williams will be key players coming off the bench
These five players will be the next five for Collins to use, and although some will make strong bids to start, they will have to contribute off the bench: Combo guard Louis Williams, shooting guard Willie Green, small forward Andres Nocioni, power forward Marreese Speights, center Spencer Hawes.