The 76ers Have a New Identity

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For the past five seasons or so, the Philadelphia 76ers have had the identity of an over-achieving, run-and-gun team.  The 76er lineup featured mostly guards and small forwards, who played stringent defense and used that to power a potent fast break offense.  This was personified by Andre Iguodala.  During that period, the 76ers big men, Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes, lacked the touches and size to be an effective offensive option in the post when the pace of the game was slowed down by the opponent.  This proved to be something of an Achilles heel.

This off-season, the 76ers used the Orlando Magic’s desire to rid themselves of Howard (while simultaneously getting as bad as possible) to redefine their team.  In helping facilitate the deal between the Lakers and Magic, the 76ers sent Andre Iguodala to Denver and added Andrew Bynum to their team. This has drastically changed the shape of the team.

It’s an excellent bit of maneuvering by the 76ers.  In Bynum, they finally have the go-to post offensive player they have been missing, and their first center of note since Dikembe Mutombo.  Bynum is in his prime, is getting the now famous German knee revitalization procedure Kobe underwent last post-season, and is poised and ready to be the offensive focus of the Sixers.  In addition, Bynum now provides an anchor to the aggressive exterior defense that will allow the Sixers to focus on forcing opponents into contested jumpers, while providing at-the-basket help to wipe out some of the defensive mistakes teams inevitably make.

In addition, the loss of Iguodala is almost completely soften by the development of Evan Turner this past season.  Turner provides almost all of the defense, rebounding, and slashing that Iguodala did.  The only difference is that Turner is younger, and still has some time to develop his jump shot.  Add to the mix, Jason Richardson, and the 76ers have a reliable three point shooter.

The Sixers will likely start Bynum, either Lavoy Allen or Thaddeus Young, Jason Richardson, Evan Turner, and Jrue Holiday.  It’s a potent offensive and defensive lineup that compliments Bynum’s skills in the post, and at the same time will still be able to execute the run-and-gun style to which the 76ers have grown accustomed.  All told, the 76ers should be better than they were last season, and should once again proceed past the first round of the playoffs, if everything works out the way I imagine it will.  Given that Doug Collins is at the helm, it’s hard to imagine the team not improving, possibly drastically.

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3 Responses to “The 76ers Have a New Identity”

  1. pmadavi Says:

    I am looking forward to Bynum vs. Hibbert. Those guys could develop a rivalry.

  2. High Above Courtside Says:

    I’m looking forward to a renewed rivalry with Boston and Philly. I remeber the 60’s with Wilt, Greer, the Kangaroo Kid, Wally Jones, Luke Jackson, versus Russ, Sam, Hondo, Satch.

    I remember the 70’s & 80’s with Steve Mix, Dr. J, Chocolate Thunder, Bobby Jones, George McGinnis, Moses, Toney, Cheeks vs Cowens, Maxwell (who went into the stands to fight) Bird, Tiny, McHale, Chief, DJ etc.

    As the origianal HAC (Johnny Most) called it :Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Hate.”

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