Philadelphia 76ers: Ranking the Most Important Players of the Future

Michael FoglianoAnalyst IOctober 18, 2011

Philadelphia 76ers: Ranking the Most Important Players of the Future

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    The NBA is in a lockout (BOOOOOO!!!!) and unfortunately limits us extremely to talk about things going on. Mainly because nothing is going happening. 

    But what this lockout cannot do is stop us from looking at the future. I think we all know what the Sixers lack and need. So for today's sake I wanted to put things into perspective of what they have and where it can go/lead to.

    The Sixers have a lot of talent on their squad and are overlooked by many at times. 

    The bottom line is this team has potential and they will utilize the following players to be successful...

10. Lavoy Allen

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    Lavoy Allen was a late, generous pick on the Sixers part. It has been said that his problem is his motor, but I think that should be an easy fix for Doug Collins.

    Honestly, the chances that Allen makes a significant impact for the future are slim to none. But hey, I could be proven wrong because there have been many late round gems that have become very solid players (can anyone say Paul Millsap?).

    If there is a season, I think he makes the team and could grow into a good bench player.

9. Elton Brand

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    I think it would have just been wrong if I didn't include one of the best players on the team on this list. 

    I get that he is 32, but he will still be around and effective for a couple more years and that still counts as the "future". 

    Brand is one of the scarce big men the Sixers have, but the only proven effective one on a consistent basis. His rebound from two seasons ago, I believe, speaks for itself. But for those of you that still disprove of him, he had his best season since the 2007-2008 season. At the age of 32.

    Now, I don't necessarily think he will improve because that kind of goes against logic, but I do not think he will downgrade significantly enough to effect his play.

8. Craig Brackins

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    OK, not to insult anyone's intelligence here, but chances are most of you have not heard of Craig Brackins.

    He was originally drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2010 draft, but was then shipped out to the Hornets, and finally brought to Philly in the Willie Green trade.

    Brackins has only played three games in his whole career (all with the Sixers) averaging just 11 minutes each time. So basically, we don't have a good idea of what he can do in the league, but that does not mean he doesn't have potential.

    He has spent the majority of his career in the D-League, but he has been dominating it. In fact, in 18 games played, he averaged over 20 points and almost nine rebounds per game. Impressive if you ask me.

    But after all, it is the D-League, right? True. But Brackins, who has the ability to play the three and four slot, is a jack of all trades. He is very athletic, has a great long range jumper for his size and position, he can play defense and has good post skills. 

    Believe it or not, entering the draft his NBA comparison was LaMarcus Aldridge. Although I do not believe he will be as good, he does have a similar style of play. 

    The bottom line here is that Brackins is just 24 years old and has potential to be an effective player on this team. Whether it is him being the solution to the four spot when brand leaves, or if it just seem being a solid contributor off the bench.

7. Lou Williams

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    The raw talent Lou brings to the table is great. He is the definition of a Philly basketball player. I love it. And the best part is, it never gets old.

    Williams has been playing for the Sixers since he was 18 and has been making a bigger presence each season. But the one main thing I think we have all learned about him is that he can spark, or simply go off at any point in time by dropping 20-30 points. 

    He's unpredictable. I love it. 

    As for the future, I think he will always be that unique bench scorer, which is something I think every team needs to be complete. Sweet Lou will be around for a while. And that's definitely a good thing for the team, and for the fans.

6. Nikola Vucevic

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    In reality, Nikola Vucevic is the Sixers' only chance at a good center for the future. The name that I have heard the most surrounding him as an NBA comparison, is Mehmet Okur. And getting that at a mid-first round pick, in the state of desperation the Sixers are in need of center, I will gladly take it.

    Vucevic was the tallest player in this year's draft class and was the only legit center. He obviously has size on his side as he is almost seven feet tall, but he also has a lethal mid-range jumper. On top of that, he can rebound. Although they finished middle of the pack last year in total rebounds, they need more of it to be successful. Especially on the offensive side.

    His offensive game clearly outweighs his defensive ability, but I think Collins, who places a huge focus on defense, will help him improve on his defensive flaws and turn him into a complete center.

5. Jodie Meeks

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    Perhaps my love for Jodie Meeks is bringing a little bias as to placing him this high, but it's amazing how much he is overlooked.

    Every time he goes in the game, he is a threat to the defense for the sole reason of having a deadly three point shot. Every time he is in, one man on the defense is forced to guard him tight on the perimeter, leaving more space in the middle for the big men or players driving to the basket. And if they don't guard him, he is left open for the three pointer that he will most likely make. It's a win-win situation.

    even Andre Iguodala said himself that Meeks made the biggest improvement of any Sixer last season and will only get better. 

4. Andre Iguodala

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    Whether you like him or not, Andre Iguodala is as versatile as you can get and is most likely remaining a Sixer. After the plethora of rumors surrounding him, (Monta Ellis, Chris Kaman or Rudy Gay) he is still in a Sixers uniform. If he was going to be traded, it would have already happened.

    Therefore Iguodala, who is just 27, will be here for a while (most likely that is). Although most of you hate him, he is one of very, very few players that can facilitate an offense, distribute the ball, score, rebound and play shutdown defense. In fact, the only other player I can name that can do that is Lebron James and Kobe Bryant three years ago.

    The fact that he is being put into a category with those two players speak for itself. Obviously he is not as good, but he is one of just two players that can do all of those things.

    Iguodala is ranked at four only because of the doubt that he might not be here. But if we knew for a definite, he would be higher.

3. Thaddeus Young

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    A true hustler. Thaddeus Young should be the Sixers top priority as soon as the NBA resumes without question.

    Arguably the best sixth man in the league, Young is what makes the lineup expendable because he is the only one who can play the three and four slot (that is, until Brackins comes around when we will have a lot of depth... hopefully). 

    Anyway, Young proved in the playoffs against the Heat that he is not given the full credit he deserves as a player. Running the full length of the court missing one shoe perfectly demonstrates his mindset of never giving up on a play.

    Young can do a lot of things like play defense, utilize post skills and has a solid jumper. All of his help will be needed in the 76ers future and as each year progresses, watch Young get more involved each year.  

2. Evan Turner

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    Evan Turner still has a ton of potential. For those of you who think he won't be good, shame on you for not recognizing his talent.

    I believe Turner is just going through a typical rookie adjustment. He did the same thing in his freshmen year at Ohio State:

    Rookie season at Ohio State: 8.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists.

    Rookie season with the Sixers: 7.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists.

    Very similar if you ask me. 

    He is a very versatile player himself, especially when he uses his craftiness since he is not the most athletic player there is. I don't want to call him Iguodala, but he is similar in the way that he can rebound and assist, but Turner has a stronger ability to score.

    At best, I think Turner could be an All-Star and a better number one than Iguodala, especially with a good supporting cast. The only reason why I don't have him as number one is because we don't know for sure if he will turn out to be as good as I'm describing (I know, I'm being optimistic here).

    Turner's downfall is clearly his jump shot, but he has worked on it with the "Shot Doctor", Herb Magee. He's improving and will only get better.

    Last season, he showed us signs of greatness and showed up in the playoffs against one of the best teams in the league. He can be scary and I think potentially lead this team.

1. Jrue Holiday

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    Jrue Holiday is placed at number on here mainly because he has established himself as the team's point guard for the future and is starting to declare himself as a top ten point guard in the league (screw you #NBArank. No one cares what you think).

    Holiday has shown that he can take initiative and run the offense. At the age of just 21, he shows great poise at running a team which is very rare. Furthermore, he has improved on his long range shot, which has helped in making him a threat at all ends of the court.

    Although his stats aren't very attractive, he is coming around to be his own, complete player.

    Holiday is ready for a new workload to lead the team and I can't wait for him to take on the challenge.

Conclusion

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    Although it may seem like an unclear future in Philly, I think they have good chances overall to push for a championship in the next five years. 

    Since this group of guys will remain the core for a while, I think the longevity will definitely help come playoff time.

    After battling a close one with the Heat to end the series, I believe that the Sixers can do even better than last year and make another playoff run.