As you may have seen around the FanSided NBA Network, our bloggers have been down about the lockout. But we all have to have something to cheer ourselves, and our readers, up. Optimism for the NBA labor dispute died when games were cancelled, the two sides became more distant from both each other and the fans, and when Chris Sheridan went into backtracking mode. But hey, I wanted to share Chris’ optimism too. So tonight we’ll examine five things to look forward to after the lockout, as we at FanSided NBA try to bring back some hope and interest in the upcoming season.
And yes, let’s take the attitude that it will be coming.
1. Actual Fun Basketball
The NBA is far and away the most entertaining form of basketball in the world in my opinion, though the Olympics and Euroleague are always fun. When the season happens (hey, optimism!) the Sixers hope to bring back their hard-working, entertaining form of basketball. It may not be pretty, like a Ray Allen jumper, but it’s easy to appreciate players who give it their all. It’s also easy to appreciate when the same players haven’t always played with the same intensity.
The Sixers, under returning coach Doug Collins (a rarity for this franchise), should be fun to watch, as they were at the end of last season. And hopefully, the team can accomplish more.
2. Better Fan Experience
Sixers games should be affordable for families and people without much money. And they should finally provide more than on-court entertainment. There have been very few redeemable aspects of going to Sixers games lately. Personally, my biggest gripe is the free throw chimes. I’d love for them to go away. Many people don’t like Hip-Hop, the team’s admittedly uninspiring mascot. I honestly couldn’t care. But the key is that ownership seems willing and able to listen to complaints and make changes.
And if you have suggestions, you can always let our new owners know about it at newsixersowner.com.
3. Evan Turner’s Development
We don’t know exactly how well Turner could play. The first half of last year was a complete waste. He provided no value to the team and lost playing time as a result. His second half was much better – I look forward to seeing his progress on both ends of the floor, as his man-defense was excellent but his knowledge of schemes lacked, making critical mistakes near the ends of games.
I expect him to get better with team defensive schemes. But the true questions come on offense, where his conditioning and jumper need improvement. Having worked with “shot doctor” Herb Magee, Evan Turner can become an all-around force, especially with backcourt-mate Jrue Holiday, another building block, already on the roster.
4. A Center Competition
So maybe this will be the worst center competition of all time. I don’t care. It’s something, as last year Spencer Hawes went virtually unchallenged as the starting center despite having approximately 5 good games the entire season. Nikola Vucevic has proved nothing, but then again Hawes has only proved that he is mostly inept – the team’s best lineups didn’t contain him. And there’s always the chance that Vucevic could be decent. You never know.
Of course, it could also be of high comedic value instead with those two “competing” for the spot, matching strides in ineptitude. It will be, at the very least, interesting.
(Or we can go small 70% of the time with Brand at center and Young at forward. That actually sounds better to me.)
5. Decisions About the Future
With the lockout and assuming an abbreviated off-season, the Sixers roster will remain relatively static. Iguodala will likely return, as will Brand, Holiday, Williams, etc. Thad Young will likely be back, as will Spencer Hawes. So the roster will return, and they’ll have the chance to prove they should be here in the long run. Championship aspirations shouldn’t be imposed, but they will have the chance to prove that they can be built around, both vets and youngsters alike. Resolution is coming soon, which will be a relief for fans and the players.