Where have all the 76ers gone?

The 76ers' Nick Young has not been able to replace Lou Williams.The 76ers started off their 2012-13 campaign with an emotional victory over the Denver Nuggets and former teammate Andre Iguodala.  As it stands, they are in a tailspin.  What began as a season full of possibilities and a very high ceiling has 76ers fans wondering whether or not the team will even sneak into the playoffs at season’s end.  Almost no one saw this coming.  A team that took the championship caliber Celtics to the limit in the Eastern Conference Semifinals just six months ago can barely manage a win now.  What has changed so dramatically for this team this season?

During the offseason, it was thought that the Sixers had drastically improved their team by getting rid of Andre Iguodala and signing decent players at a lower cost.  Nick Young was thought to be a cheaper Louis Williams.  Dorell Wright was supposed to shoot the lights out of the building.  Most importantly, Andrew Bynum was supposed to solidify the frontcourt for this team, and make them a force to be reckoned with in the east.  So far, none of those things have come to fruition.

Nick Young is not Lou Williams.  He’s not even close.  Williams is averaging 15.6 PPG on a very talented Atlanta Hawks team that currently sits at the 3rd seed in the east.  Nick Young averages 10.3 PPG, and doesn’t bring anywhere near the level of intensity we were used to seeing from Lou.  Dorell Wright has been reasonably effective from beyond the arc, shooting 37% from the 3-point line.  However, he’s averaging a meager 8.5 PPG in an average of 23 minutes.  Not great for a guy who was supposed to be a more effective Jodie Meeks.

The biggest disappointment by far for this team has been Bynum.  The Sixers big acquisition can’t even sniff the floor, and appears to have little-to-no interest in doing so until he feels close to 100%.  For a player who seems to have a chronic knee condition, 100% seems close to impossible to achieve.  There is a very real fear among fans that Bynum may miss the entire season.  In essence, it appears the Sixers traded away Iguodala simply to trade him.  Jason Richardson, who was part of the Bynum deal, has made little impact this season.  He’s averaging 10.8 PPG, 2 RPG, and 1.3 APG.

As the season goes on, the team seems to get worse.  They are 2-6 on their most recent road trip, and 3-9 since mid December.  They currently sit in the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference with a 15-20 record.  A far cry from the fast start they team enjoyed at the beginning of the lockout shortened 2012 season.  The Sixers find themselves in the familiar, yet unenviable position of being in basketball limbo.  Not good enough to make the playoffs, not bad enough to get a top 3 draft pick.  If the Sixers play poorly enough, they could play their way into the NBA Draft Lottery.  At this point, it may be the best the franchise can hope for.

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Alex Birchmeier

Alex Birchmeier is a 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. His favorite teams are the Eagles and Phillies, but he also roots for the Sixers, Flyers, and Temple's sports programs. Alex graduated with a degree in Communications from Rowan University in 2009 and joined HighPhive.net in September 2012. In his spare time, Alex enjoys playing music, spending time with friends, strolling along the beach, and much, much more. You can follow him on his personal Twitter @birchwhatever.