The Sixers are coming back!
As you know by now, a last second deal saved the NBA season, and games will resume on Christmas Day.
While this is likely more exciting for fans of the Heat, Knicks, Thunder, Mavs, etc…, Sixers fans have plenty to look forward to as well.
For me personally, here are the 10 questions I have heading into the 2011-12 season.
1. What will we learn about the new owners?
They have gotten off to a good start by slashing ticket prices, reaching out to the fans and killing off Hip Hop. They seem to have a genuine passion about the team and turning us into a contender. Chances are anything will be an upgrade over Ed Snider, but nothing is certain. This question, above all else, could determine what kind of Sixers team we see over the next decade or so.
2. Will we trade Andre Iguodala?
Before the lock-out, this was the biggest story on the Sixers’ front. It will be interesting to see if they pull the trigger on a deal now, though I doubt it. If they do, I would hope that instead of trading for a player (Monta Ellis, for example), they would go after picks and an expiring deal. This would be a great year to get a top-5 pick in the draft.
3. How will Evan Turner look in year 2?
Or maybe more specifically, how will his new jump shot look? Turner showed some flashes near the end of the year. I don’t think anyone is expecting him to morph into pre-knee injury Brandon Roy, but I think everyone is expecting some serious improvement out of the #2 overall pick.
4. Will we use amnesty on anyone?
Each NBA team will be able to rid themselves of one bad contract from their cap. They still have to pay the salary, but it doesn’t count against the cap. Andres Nocioni is the most likely option, though some might think Elton Brand should go despite his solid comeback year in 2010-11.
5. Will we re-sign Thad Young?
Using amnesty on Nocioni would seemingly make this a no-brainer. Young wants to come back, and it seems like we want him back.
6. Will Nikola Vucevic be horrible?
The Vucevic pick was soundly blasted by almost everyone, including myself. But, for a team desperately needing a center, we can all hope he’ll prove us wrong.
7. Can Jrue make another leap?
The best thing that happened to the Sixers last year was the breakout of Jrue Holiday. The question now is whether he is what he is, or if he can continue to get better and turn himself into an all-star caliber player. Remember, he’s still only 21 years old.
8. Will Doug Collins message still be heard?
The Sixers played hard for Collins last year. However, historically, players have soured on him as time goes on. He seemed to have changed his tone last year from his previous stints.
9. Who will round out the roster?
There will likely be 3-4 open spots on the roster that will need to be filled by low-end FA (assuming we re-sign Thad) and un-drafted FA.
10. What do we want from this team?
The Sixers have been stuck in mediocrity hell for the last several years. Over the last 8 seasons, we have gone 298-358, had 7 coaches (yes, 7), and made 4 meaningless playoff appearances. So what do we hope for? A 7th seed in the playoffs? A horrible season and high draft pick? A complete blow-up of the team save a couple players? The great part is since the players and owners stopped acting like children (kind of), we get to find out.