It’s just past the half way mark of the NBA season and the 76ers are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs. They’re currently in 9th place overall and 3 ½ games out of a playoff spot if the season ended today. They started at 12-9, but since a 104-97 win over the Pistons, they have gone 5-16.
Let’s break down the 76ers at the midpoint and try to figure out just how they got here.
- Jrue Holiday: Easily, and this one’s not even close, the best player on the 76ers and the undisputed leader at 22 years old. He’s having a career year with 19 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 ½ steals per game. He’s truly coming in to his own and even if he doesn’t get the recognition this year, next year he will be listed among the elite point guards in the NBA, if not the best. Rajon Rondo gets a lot of press, but his attitude and leadership are questionable at best, so I’d take Holiday over anyone in the league right now at the point. He will be going to his first All Star Game this year.
- Evan Turner: People say “finally” a lot when talking about ET, but he’s only in his 3rd year and he was stuck in the Andre Iguodala zone for two of them. After having AI removed, Turner has blossomed in to a very good player when paired with Holiday. He’s averaging 14 points, almost 7 rebounds, and 4 ½ assists per game. Not bad numbers while shooting 43% from the floor on a jump shooting team. He needs to continue to play and the back court of Holiday and Turner will be successful for years to come.
- Thaddeus Young: He hasn’t missed a game and the bulked up size he came in to camp with have helped somewhat, but again, the 76ers have no inside presence and even in the small ball world they seem to live in Young needs to step up and play bigger. 15 points and 7 rebounds per game aren’t bad, but it’s the same as the teams shooting guard. They need more from Young, but I’m not sure if he’s ever going to be able to give it to them. In a true power rotation, with Young playing the small forward, he might improve, but there’s no chance of that with these 76ers.
- Jason Richardson: I’ve never thought Richardson was a “great” player. He’s with his 7th team over his 12 year career, but someone thought he’s going to step up and be a veteran leader on the 76ers. His shooting hasn’t been there and while he’s been ok with just under 11 points per game, that’s all he’s been, just ok. I imagine that when the 76ers traded for Andrew Bynum, they had to take Richardson and just tried to put a positive spin on the whole thing. He can’t be expected to be here again next year.
- Nick Young: He’s a scorer. Brought in to try to play Lou Williams role off the bench. He’s only averaging 10 ½ points per game but I guess that’s about right on this team. He can come in and provide a spark but he’s another 6’7” guard that we have way too many of. He should be back next year as his offense is much needed off the bench but he’s not a starter and he’s sharing time with 3 other guys that do the same things.
- Spencer Hawes: 10 points and almost 7 rebounds a game is good for the 23 minutes per game he’s averaging, but in the league today, you can’t run the small ball game and not have someone like Hawes on the floor. When he does get extended minutes it usually results in a double double for Hawes, but too many times it seems like he’s losing minutes to players like Lavoy Allen. I like Hawes and how he plays when he’s on the floor but it’s up to Collins to get him more time and the 76ers don’t compete in the league without some sort of size at the center position.
- Dorell Wright: I’ve always felt he’s a better player than he gets credit for because when he gets good minutes, he does produce. The problem is that this team, and I know I’m repeating myself, is littered with players like Wright. You can’t bring in him and say that he’s here for his scoring, outside shooting, and defense, yet never play him. You’re not going to get results that way. I would like to see more of Wright and less of J-Rich, but I guess that’s why Collins is the coach, although not for long.
- Lavoy Allen: Plain and simple, he’s a waste of space. He’s a marginal player and a complete loss at center, which is where Allen spends the games he starts. I don’t understand playing against teams with large centers and putting the 6’9” Allen out there. He’s a good person to have on the roster, down on the other side of the bench, to fill out some space, but he’s not a starter in this league and shouldn’t be playing at all.
- Arnett Moultrie: Brought in on draft night in a trade with Miami, Moultrie would add size and mobility. The problem is he mostly adds well dressed weight to the roster, but not really much else. With the way the season is going he should be on the floor in uniform, not in a suit.
- Kwame Brown: I thought that I would rip Brown about his play and poor this and horrible that, but he hardly plays. He’s supposed to add size and strength in the middle but usually is a DNP. He’s at least 6 fouls a night if Collins chose to use a center and he has the size, but he’s mostly a well paid spectator. At this point in his career I kind of just feel bad for the guy.
- Royal Ivey: Who?
- Andrew Bynum: Normally I would have to give Bynum an “incomplete” but given as he’s been caught out bowling and buying booze I feel compelled to remind people of the article at the beginning of the season where an unnamed former teammate said that he’s never met anyone in the league that likes basketball less than Bynum. You could chalk it up to being an out of work NBA player, upset ex-teammate, etc. What we do know is that it seems to be true. We were all excited to get an All-Star center, young, with great size and ability who’s going to return the 76ers to prominence. What we got was an oversized goofball who seems to care more about bowling then he does playing. How else do you explain hurting your knee bowling while you’re supposed to be rehabbing, taking it easy, following a plan and trying to earn your $16 million dollar salary? Bynum, until he actually gets on the court, if he actually gets on the court, will be a huge joke and bust for this team.
Grade: F (only because there’s nothing I can give him that’s lower)
- Coach Doug Collins: For all of his ideals and motivation, he’s seems to be doing nothing right with the team. The worst part is that he’s the coach of an NBA franchise and he doesn’t seem to know how to get the team to play better. That’s a huge red flag in the coaching business. If you can’t get your team prepared, put the right players on the floor at the right time and motivate them, then what are you doing on the bench in the first place? Collins needs to step up and quick.
With the exception of Jrue, ET, and Hawes (when he’s on the court) this team has been a complete disappointment and will continue to do so unless Collins figures out a way to get them straightened out. A little speech where you tell your team to “compete” isn’t going to do it. He needs to figure out how to use the players he has to the best of their ability. To me, that would seem to be starting Hawes, Mourtrie, Thad, Turner, and Jrue to see how they all mesh and start working together. The age and ability is there for all of them to play well together, yet we get steady doses of four guards and a small forward with no talent at the NBA level. Unless Collins wakes up soon, he’s going to be handing out his resume come spring time and we’ll all be excited to see who the 76ers draft with their latest lottery pick.Tags: Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, Mid-Season, NBA, Philadelphia 76ers, Report Card, Thaddeus Young