As of this writing, the Sixers Summer roster consists of Jrue Holiday, Turner, and Ryan Brooks at the Guard spots, Ndubi Ebi at Small Forward, and Trent Plaisted at Power Forward. A Center, and Coach have yet to be named. It’ll be interesting to see how this roster takes shape, and who guides it, and I don’t see anyone other than Turner and Holiday being Sixers after camp. My guess is Associate Head Coach Mike O’Koren or Aaron McKie will coach this summer.
Obviously, all eyes will be on Holiday and Turner, as they attempt to develop chemistry. How these young players gel will be key elements in what we can expect to see from the Sixers come November, and throughout the season. Having a rookie, and a second year player as your starting backcourt is a risk. However, the Sixers front office and coaching staff seem to feel that throwing the youngsters into the fire may be the best way to grow. I’m cynical of such a move, and feel that each guy would greatly benefit from either time behind, or alongside a solid veteran at the Guard position.
Looking at the Forwards, it seems Andre Iguodola will be staying. I’ll admit to not being a huge fan, however, even the most cynical have to admit that AI2 is a solid basketball player. When Andre is on his defensive game, his offense isn’t forced, and he lets the game come to him. He’s at his best in those instances, and one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the league. Making him “the man” was putting him in over his head, a realization the organization has finally come to.
Thaddeus Young and Marreese Speights have the most to prove going forward. Both showed promise early on, but regressed largely last season. The question is whether or not they went backwards due to the coaching style of Eddie Jordan, or if they hit a wall, and have developed as much as possible. High expectations were placed on both after their early success. It remains to see if that promise can be reached. Speights seems better off at Power Forward, and depending on what happens with Elton Brand- if he’s traded or how he performs- will possibly see time backing him up, as well as Center Spencer Hawes, should Hawes emerge as a starter.
The additions of Hawes and Andres Nocioni, and a healthy Jason Smith could help provide some sorely lacking toughness in the paint for the Sixers, as well. Rebounding the ball, boxing out opposing “bigs”, and keeping opposing guards out of the paint proved difficult for the Sixers last year, another area which needs vast improvement. These three, along with improved play from Speights and Young should provide help in these areas.
The bench is the biggest question mark as of now. With a team full of young players, you want solid veterans behind them, mentoring in practices and off the court, and providing valuable minutes off the bench. Where does Willie Green fit? A true professional, he provided little in his minutes last season. Jodie Meeks? Another youngster. Jason “0 for January” Kapono? Will these guys be back? And with some frontcourt starting jobs up for grabs, who stays and who goes when starters are determined?
So many questions linger as we look forward to the 2010-2011 season for the Sixers. Of course, this analysis is only valid based on the roster we see today. I hope and expect to see changes between now and Training Camp, and expect to be rewriting it come October. Until then…