2009/10 Review:

The Philadelphia 76ers have been stuck into the mediocrity since the “old” Allen Iverson days and last season they gave one step back in their development. I remember that they went to the playoffs the two years prior of the last season, but in both seasons they had a barely 0.500 record to show and were knock down in the first round of the playoffs.

Last season they hired head coach Eddie Jordan to run the “Princeton Offense” in Philly, but the results were plain and simple awful and Jordan is no longer the 76ers head coach.

The Sixers were mediocre in every relevant offensive statistic: 20th in offense efficiency; 16th in FG%; 22nd in 3pts% and 20th in A/TO ratios, so the Princeton Offense didn’t work in Philadelphia. The reason of such failure is pretty simple to explain if you think about it. In Washington, Jordan had a core of players who are good mid range shooters like Arenas, Jamison, Butler or Mason. In Philadelphia, he had Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and Elton Brand and these players aren’t exactly known for their ability to shoot well around the basket.

Allen Iverson returned to his “home” midway in December, but the outcome didn’t change at all: the Sixers had some problems to be consistent on the offensive end, while their defense was consistently bad during the regular season.

At least they have now one less year to pay Elton Brand’s mammoth contract, while they were able to secure the second draft pick of the 2010 draft class. It was another year wasted for the 76ers – something that they are used to since the Allen Iverson trade to Denver some years ago.

2009/10 Advanced Stats:

Pace 23rd 94.5
Offense 20th 103.2
Defense 22nd 107.2
Rebounds 18th +0.04

2010/11 Outlook:

Projected Depth Chart:

PG: Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams, Chris Quinn
SG: Evan Turner, Jason Kapono, Jodie Meeks
SF: Andre Iguodala, , Andres Nocioni
PF: Thaddeus Young, Darius Songaila, Craig Brackins
C: Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes, Marreese Speights

The 76ers have now a new head coach in the former TNT analyst Doug Collins, who hasn’t coached a NBA team since 2003, but he is known to be a player’s friendly coach and his system certainly is way less complex than Jordan’s system, so he has an early advantage that Jordan didn’t have last season.

Unfortunately, the Sixers weren’t in a position, in which they could make any substantial move in this offseason, so basically they will have to improve by relying with the same core of players from last season.

Andre Iguodala is still the best player of this team, but at his point of his career, we already know that he is never going to be a truly superstar in this league, but he might still be the perfect compliment for a superstar player. His shooting ability doesn’t belong to the elite and he is actually coming from his worst shooting campaign of his career by shooting only 44.3% from the field. However, he is a pretty good all around player, a great defensive wing player and a remarkable durable player (he logged every single game of the regular season in 5 of his 6 seasons as a pro). By playing with other great players in this summer’s FIBA World Championship, he showed how good he can be without having the pressure to be the team’s best player. He is involved in some trade rumors and his future in Philadelphia is on the line, although he has been the most consistent player in the franchise in the last years.

Part of the reason of why the Sixers have been stuck in mediocrity as of late is because they are paying to Elton Brand an all star type of contract, but his production has been way far from reaching such level. His PER numbers over the last two seasons (14.6 and 15.7) were by far the worst of his career! Will he ever be able to reach his 20-10 numbers? As a 6-foot-9 power forward, he really needs to be at his best in terms of fitness and explosiveness or else he will be overpowered in every single matchup due to being undersized and that has been the problem for him since he got injured on his final season with the Clippers. If the 76ers want to be a respectable team, then Doug Collins will have to find a way to bring Elton Brand back to being a valuable asset in the team.

With the intermittent Elton Brand’s presence in the 76ers frontcourt, Thaddeus Young has been playing in two different positions as of late: Small Forward and Power Forward. Although many people think him as a Small Forward, the fact is that Young is way more effective as a Power Forward (17.2 PER) than as a Small Forward (12.5 PER). He isn’t a good midrange shooter – requirement to be a good SF, but his athleticism and quickness really work well against slower defenders, but only…near the basket! The 76ers traded away Samuel Dalambert to Sacramento, so this might mean that Doug Collins will play him more in his best position for the interest of the organization and for him because he is on his final year of his current contract.

Jrue Holiday was the youngest player in the league, as the Sixers plan was to give him more minutes as long the season progressed. However, he was rushed back due to the constant injuries of Louis Williams and ended up the season being the starting Point Guard. In March and April, while being a starter, he shot 50% from the floor and 40% behind the arc, while dishing out also 6 assists per game, however his turnover numbers were high as well. Head coach Doug Collins envisions Holiday becoming one of the top five point guards in the league this year, it is probably too soon to make this jump, but he will get plenty of minutes and all the support from the head coach – that’s a good start for him.

The biggest offseason addition that the Sixers added was via the draft with the selection of Evan Turner as the second-overall draft pick. Turner had a rough Summer League experience, but it was also a wake up call for him. He is a big combo guard with great versatility, but with some shooting limitations like…Andre Iguodala! His similarity with “Iggy” is hard to understand, but that’s the way the Sixers will have to play this season.

Their second unit looks to be a promising unit. Louis Williams, Andres Nocioni, Jason Kapono, Darius Songaila, Spencer Hawes and Marreese Speights are all players playing at their best. We are not talking about a collection of veterans on the end of their careers; instead we are talking about interesting role players that can contribute right away. This kind of depth is something that usually a “lowly” doesn’t have, but the Sixers are loaded up with nice pieces in the bench.

I obviously think that the Sixers have the talent to improve from their 27-wins campaign from last season. The Eastern Conference is stronger than ever and it looks there will be one or two remaining spots for teams like the Philadelphia 76ers. If Doug Collins achieves such spot, he will certainly be in the Coach of Year considerations award.