Philadelphia 76ers: 10 Bold Predictions for the Post All-Star Break
The All-Star game has finally stumbled upon us as we have finally reached the halfway mark of the 2010-2011 season.
The Sixers hold a record of 27-29 and they trail the New York Knicks for the sixth seed in the playoffs by just two games.
At first, they started the season with a dreadful 3-13 record. Thoughts came up of yet another horrible season by them. Fans also began to question Doug Collins.
Boy, did Collins and the Sixers prove us wrong.
After the horrible start, the 76ers finished of the first half of the year with a record of 24-16. That's pretty impressive, if you ask me. Plus, they have lost ten games within five points. You can do the math.
They would be in the run for the top team in the Eastern Conference with that record.
This team has made a huge transition from last season and each night they are competing in every single game.
They finished the first half of the season on a hot streak and are seeking to carry on that hot streak for the rest of the season.
10. Attract a Higher Fan Base
If you have just jumped on the Sixers bandwagon, then you are way too late. This team is making it's way back to the top and the fans want to be apart of it.
The good ole' Allen Iverson days have unfortunately ended. Now it's time to watch this young lineup full of potential to go to work.
The Sixers are very fun to watch because they are young. The second Evan Turner steps into the game, my eyes are stuck on him the entire time.
Sixers fans are curious to see how each of these players will continue to play for the rest of career since this is a young lineup.
Now that the 76ers are playing really well, the fans are starting to come back and the seats are now starting to get filled.
In the beginning of the season, the upper level was empty. Not anymore.
The Sixers will see a very high fan base this second half of the year as they make a playoff run.
9. Lou Williams Will Win Sixth Man of The Year
I can see it now:
Lou Williams as the Sixth Man of the Year.
Numerous times this season, Williams has came up clutch for the Sixers. He currently averages just under 14 points per game and 3.4 assists (this month he is averaging 17 points per game).
Williams has proved he can be a consistent scorer off the bench. A player like this is a very good weapon on any team.
Williams definitely deserves to be sixth man of the year this year. Who else could beat him?
Manu Ginobli is starting this year and Jamal Crawford isn't having the season he had last year.
It all makes too much sense.
8. Jrue Holiday Will Continue To Play Well
Jrue Holiday has been great this season. Not only has he proven to be an everyday, durable point guard, but he has also played like a top point guard.
Holiday is only 20 and still has a long career ahead of him.
In his sophomore season he is averaging just under 14 points per game and dishing out 6.2 assists. He is also doing a solid job on the boards for point guard averaging just under four.
This season, Holiday has also improved his three point shot. He is now an all around threat and teams need to start playing tighter defense on him, which will help the Sixers spread the court.
Holiday has been the Sixers most consistent player next to Elton Brand and he will continue to do so in the second half of the year.
7. Iguodala Will Focus On What He Does Best
Andre Iguodala needs to focus on what he does best, but what is that, you ask?
It's being a facilitator, being a complement to everyone, and having the offense run through you. it's playing shutdown defense and doing your best to distribute the ball.
Lately, Iguodala has done a great job of this.
A perfect example of this was a game the Sixers played against the Knicks about a week ago. Iguodala scored 18 points and dished out 16 assists.
Right now he is averaging 14 points, six assists, and six rebounds per game. he is not flourishing in any category, but that's not what we need. What he is doing now is great.
We need to be that all around guy doing a little bit of everything. Iguodala realized this and has done it a lot lately.
Don't be surprised when you see more of this in the second half of the year.
6. They Will Surpass The Knicks
At the rate the Sixers are playing, it is almost certain that they will surpass the Knicks. They are currently just two games behind them and lead the series against them 2-1.
In fact, in the last 20 games, the Knicks have a losing record of 8-12. At one point, they were on a six game losing streak.
The Sixers have been playing much better than the Knicks as of late and if the same characteristics carry on to the second half (and if the Knicks don't sign Melo), the Sixers will overtake the six seed.
5. Team Chemistry Will Rise
All of the Sixers have played well together this season.
They all have gelled well as a team and have learned each others' style of play and have adapted to play along with it.
This season they made a huge step forward in growth and development. For a young team, they have matured together greatly.
The team chemistry will rise and they will continue to work well together.
4. The Bench Will Continue to Play Great
The bench is very deep this season. However, there is a special reason for it.
It's because they are all focused on their own specific role. They aren't trying to do so many things.
Lou Williams is the scorer, Thaddeus Young get the rebounds and takes short jumpers, Mo Speights gets his rebounds, and Evan Turner is versatile.
The bench has grown to be very effective in every game. On any night, any player can go wild and be great.
We have seen Williams go on scoring tantrums, Speights play well, and Turner and Thad doing everything.
The bench is arguably the deepest in the league and will play a huge part in the second half of the year.
3. Evan Turner Will Play Better
After Evan Turner was incredibly snubbed form the Rookie Challenge, he will certainly look to prove fans wrong the second half of the season. He will use it as motivation to do much better.
The young man has plenty of talent, it just hasn't completely sprouted yet. Part of this is because he sees limited playing time. But when he plays there have been times where Turner has shown flashes of greatness in some games.
He needs to work on his jump shot and using more of his craftiness since he isn't the most athletic player.
If he improves on those things, he will be ready to go.
He is a great rebounder for a two guard and this season (in his limited playing time) is averaging 7.2 points per game, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Many fans have put the bust label on him already when it is by far way to early.
The former AP College Player of the Year will prove fans wrong and have a much better second half of the year.
2. They Will Knock Off a Good Team in The Playoffs
To be completely honest, I would not be surprised if the Sixers take down a top team in the East come playoff time.
The Sixers are now a very dangerous team with an identity now. When teams know they have a game against the Sixers, they don't brush it off anymore. Instead they are thinking, "Wow, these guys are playing pretty good lately. We can't underestimate them."
The 76ers have competed against top teams like the Lakers, Spurs, Heat, Magic, Hawks, Knicks, Thunder, Mavericks, and the Bulls.
Just take in that list. The Sixers have beaten the best team in the league, the Spurs, beaten the Bulls, destroyed the Hawks, and have had very close ones with the rest of those teams.
They have clearly shown they can stick with the top teams.
Don't be surprised is the Sixers make some noise in the playoffs.
1. Doug Collins Will Win Coach Of The Year
If he does not win Coach of the Year, then I don't know who will.
There is not one coach in the entire league that is more deserving than Collins. There is also no other coach that has made a team make a huge turnaround like the Sixers.
Collins' philosophy of taking it game by game and not starting the best five players has worked out spectacular.
He lead this team to 27 wins the first half of the year. Newsflash, Philly fans! This is the same amount of wins you got at the end of last season!
Collins has done a great job at everything. He is the main reason why this team is where it is standing today.
The Sixers are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, doing their best to move up the playoff standings.
They currently reside at the seventh seed with a record of 27-29, but the record is not what it shows.
They have developed an identity and everyone is starting to play well. At any given night, any player can come up big for them.
The Sixers have proven they can compete against any team in the NBA and have even taken down the bets team in the league.
The 76ers can be a very dangerous team and are looking to make some noise come playoff time. They are heading into a positive second half of the year.