Sixers 2012 Preview: Buoyant, Balanced (and Blue) (By: @BWMahoney213)
Years beyond Allen Iverson’s tenure, the Philadelphia 76ers may have finally found their new “answer”—(drumroll, please…)
The 2012 – 2013 twelve-man roster.
Yes. It’s a bold swing, but the city’s vibe (with an increased media attention) has been relatively optimistic for the new-look Sixers since their summer transactions. First, they rid of the aging power forward Elton Brand, who never delivered his big-name potential after signing as a free agent back in 2008. The Sixers also signed a few names in free agency like guard Nick Young (to replace Louis Williams) and forward Dorell Wright from Golden State for some much needed three-point efficiency.
Next, they cleaned house yet still built around the team with a blockbuster trade of marquee forward/guard Andre Iguodala, sending him to the Denver Nuggets. Meanwhile, the Sixers also traded their last two first-round picks in center Nikola Vucevic and forward Moe Harkless to the Orlando Magic.
The Magic traded superstar center Dwight Howard to the Lakers and in return, the Sixers received center Andrew Bynum and received Orlando’s shooting guard Jason Richardson.
Here we go.
In an Eastern Conference that must submit to the will of LeBron James and the World Champion Miami Heat, the Sixers have fortified a dynamic roster that can be rotated quarter by quarter to compete fiercely. The Sixers were just one game (with a few miscues) away from thumping the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Imagine the new pieces now playing back in May—the game surely would end in the Sixers’ favor.
The Sixers opened their 2012-2013 campaign against Iguodala’s Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center. They sported new dodger-blue uniforms to celebrate the 50th season in franchise history. Moses Malone and Dikembe Mutumbo were in attendance. The only man missing was their prized addition of Bynum. He is recovering slowly from knee-related issues and may miss a chunk of November (and maybe December).
No issue came about for the Sixers with LaVoy Allen and Spencer Hawes handling the heat inside the paint. Hawes dominated the game by scoring 16 points, getting 12 rebounds, and blocking 5 shots on Denver players. He did not start the game but provided much needed relief (and energy) to basically roar like a lion off one of his clutch blocks. That energy resonated with the Philadelphia crowd, chanting, “SPENCER HAWES!”
Point guard Jrue Holiday was dangerous, too. He fed Hawes with some finishers (and even a three-pointer) throughout the game. Holiday did his job well Wednesday night with 11 assists. He looked quicker and more instinctive on some drives compared to the man he replaced, former Sixer point guard Andre Miller. The other Andre (Iguodala) was held to only11 points in the game.
The overall fluidity of the Sixers shared a dangerous potential for the season ahead. Although their game stats were not clean, (losing out in game rebounds 54-47, only shooting 35% from the field), the Sixers managed timely shooting and caused 20 Denver turnovers.
That being said, it is only one game but the challenge ahead will allure real Sixers fans. The mighty Heat, Celtics, Indiana Pacers, alongside a focused New York Knicks and reinvigorated Brooklyn Nets will all match this Sixers team in high-stakes games that could determine the next NBA champion.