Philadelphia 76ers: Slow Start Expected…

Philadelphia 76ers

It can’t get worse for Sixers fans can it?

Records were broken last season – but at the wrong end of the spectrum. Their torrid run between January and March tied an NBA record for the most consecutive losses – 26 in total – as their shocking season plummeted to new depths.

But surely, it won’t happen again?

Lightning doesn’t strike twice after all. But there is nothing to suggest that in the immediate term, it won’t flash over the 76ers this campaign.

It’s a unique situation. Their model is admirable, and looks set to put the franchise in a more competitive position than most in five-years-time.

But with no veteran leadership to lean on and trading Thaddeus Young this summer, Brett Brown’s side has taken more backwards and sidewards steps initially.

But unlike most situations like this, it is hard to heap blame on anyone. The roster is inexperienced, particularly after trading Young and Evan Turner. Now the Sixers only have two players with three-years NBA experience, Jason Richardson & Luc Mbah a Moute.

Their hopes solely rest on Michael Carter-Williams, and while that may be harsh on his team-mates, it is also harsh on Carter-Williams who is still learning his trade despite a phenomenal record and his Rookie of the Year victory last year.

Michael Carter Williams

Michael Carter Williams was one of the few bright spots of Philly’s 2013/14 season…

They ranked 30th in the attacking figures with 96.8 points scored per game, and 27th in the defensive figures, finishing on 107.5 points conceded. Those numbers don’t look like they will improve, particularly offensively, as Young’s trade gives them few options around the rim.

Despite the heap of negativity, there still are factors though that will give the Sixers hope in the coming years.

They drafted in two potentially brilliant rookies in the form of Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, but we are unlikely to see either play this season.

But with Embiid who is 20, Saric 20,  Carter-Williams 23 and Nerlens Noel 20, the Sixers have four potentially top talents with high potential levels.

And that is exactly what general manager Sam Hinckie wanted – Brown is on board too so at least the influential decision makers are keen to work together and sail in the right direction. Brown in particular has been impressive, having been dealt a tough hand. But he really has embraced the idea of building a young core, and he has not done too badly despite what the stats say.

The Sixers’ payroll is also one of the lowest in the NBA, and many will see that the money is there to invest. But they’re investing in other ways. Their key goal is that when they do get to the nitty gritty stages of the championship over the coming years, when results are so important, they will reap the rewards of what they have been doing for the past few years.

Brett Brown

Brett Brown has done an admirable job with such a depleted roster

But as Philly plan for the future, the present – as brutal as this sounds – looks woeful. Expect a slight (very, very slight) improvement, particularly with the debut of Noel who Brown sees as a key defensive player. But the roster simply does not allow them to compete.

With few offensive options, expect the Sixers to have woeful outside shooting averages and another dismal year.

The motto is #TogetherWeBuild, and while they continue to build, don’t expect the Sixers to dabble anywhere near the upper reaches of the Eastern conference.

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