With less then one week until the start of the 2010 NBA season, the league seems entirely different from last year. The Lakers are still top dogs, but there is a juggernaut formed in South Beach that could take the league by storm.
One team who will not be in championship form anytime soon, but may make a return to the playoffs is the 76ers. With Doug Collins as the new coach, (anyone other than Eddie Jordan would have done) the playoffs seem like a realistic goal, especially in a conference as weak as the East.
Last season was a joke for Philly. They brought in a half-court style coach for one of the most athletic (aside from Elton Brand) teams in the league. The return of the "answer" was a dud, and there still is a need for a superstar.
With some luck from the lottery style draft order, Philadelphia landed Ohio State's phenom Evan Turner. Turner is an all-around player who has potential superstar written all over him.
An issue, however, is that Turner's skills are similar to Jrue Holliday and Andre Iguodala.
It has been speculated that Iguodala may be moved during the season if they can get a decent value in return. This move would make sense because Iguodala failed to be the superstar to fill in the shoes of Allen Iverson.
Another issue has been all the players with large contracts who do not bring much value to the team. This offseason, however, they did do a good job moving some of these players in return for some decent value.
Spencer Hawes, who was half of the trade return for Samuel Dalembert, is a pretty decent player. He can score in the interior, while also grabbing rebounds and recording a block or two per game.
One thing lost from moving Dalembert was the blocking, but blocking and playing defense are two totally different things.
In a Conference that will likely be dominated by the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls, it will be tough for the Sixers to make a title run.
However, the Sixers should make the playoffs because after these four teams, there are not many definite playoff teams.
The Sixers should be fighting amongst the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks and maybe two sleepers, the Indiana Pacers, and the Detroit Pistons.
The Playoffs may be in the near future for Philadelphia, but an NBA Finals win or even a trip past the first round might be further into the future.
Time will tell if new coach Doug Collins and No.2 overall pick Evan Turner will have success for the Philadelphia team that was a total failure last season.