The Sixer Sense Season Preview: Staff Roundtable

I presented a few questions for the staff here to answer. So let’s just get to it. Here’s the name of our staff members answering the questions and I’ll abbreviate their names to represent the their answer to the question:

Dante Nelson—DN

Danny Solis—DS

Jovan Alford—JA

Jason Quint—JQ

Jake Marciano—JM

Scott Boutcher—SB

What needs to go right for the Sixers to have what you consider a successful season?

DN- Well the Sixers need to see improvement from Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner as the Sixers take the next step to contention. The roster needs to gel. I’m not too concerned about what happens in the playoffs.

DS- The Sixers making the Conference Finals would considerably be a successful season. Last year they were able to compete in the postseason, this season they should be able to do more with the added talent.

JA- In my opinion, for the Sixers to have a successful season, Andrew Bynum has to be like a franchise player and this team has to be consistent in all phases of the game and be fundamentally sound.

JQ- I believe that if the Sixers play to their potential, they can be the #2 seed in the east. That being said, a few things have to fall into place. The first and most obvious is Andrew Bynum. Coming over from LA with huge expectations, Bynum needs to live up to the 22 and 12 hype. Is he capable? I think he can go for 30 and 15 any night. But it’s too early to tell how the relationship between Bynum and Doug Collins will play out. The second thing is the progression of Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday. I’ve been saying for two years that we’ll never see the real Turner until Iguodala leaves town. Well, ‘Dre is gone and his replacements are, for the most part, stand-still shooters (Richardson, Young, Wright). Turner and Holiday will have the ball in their hands a lot, and it is their responsibility to get shots for the three guys mentioned above, feed the big fella in the post, and pick their spots to score the basketball. I have high hopes for both players this season.

JM- Jrue Holiday needs to prove that he can be an efficient PG and have a better shot selection, Evan Turner needs to step up now that Iguodala is gone and continue to be aggressive, and Bynum needs to be able to shut down the opposing teams post players and give the team an inside presence.

SB- It all starts in the middle with Andrew Bynum. The big man will bring in an inside presence that has not been seen in this city in a long time. Bynum clogging up the paint will allow open shots for Turner and Hawes and the perimeter for Holiday and Richardson. Aside from Bynum staying healthy and dominant inside, they need the bench to produce; especially the new guys Nick Young and Dorell Wright


Who is the team MVP?

DN- Let’s go with Andrew Bynum. It could be Andrew Bynum though. Dark horse candidate is Andrew Bynum.

DS- Andrew Bynum will be team MVP. Coach Collins will be making sure Bynum finds his essence Philadelphia’s game plan. Look for Andrew to have nearly double the amount of looks he had in Lakerland. Philly has been dying for a legitimate center for years, they’ll make the most out of Bynum this season.

JA- The team MVP is Andrew Bynum, he is going to be the center of this team’s offense and defensive scheme. He is the big prize off-season acquisition.

JQ- Without a doubt, the team MVP this season must be Bynum. After playing third fiddle to Kobe and Pau Gasol the past few seasons, Bynum will finally emerge as the dominant center he’s shown flashes of. I’m on record predicting 23 points and 12 boards a game in his debut season with Philly. If he reaches or exceeds those marks and stays out of trouble, he will not only be the Sixers MVP, but he will be an NBA MVP candidate as well.

JM- Andrew Bynum

SB- Not to sound like a broken record but you can’t look any further than the big man in the middle. The health and production of Andrew Bynum will go a long way in determining how well the Sixers do and where they finish in the Eastern Conference landscape. If Bynum is nagged by injuries or unable to dominate in the paint, it will be a long season in Philly.

 

Can the Spencer Hawes, Pau Gasol experiment work like coach Collins is hoping for? How important is that success to the team’s overall success?

DN- I continue to stand on the whole Spencer Haweful thing. He’s awful. And I wept when the team brought him back. And then I got over it when they got Bynum. And then the report came in that Collins wanted Hawes to play the same role Gasol played. It would seem possible because Hawes is actually a good passer with a nice shot. He could bring other big men out of the paint, leaving Bynum with a better chance of scoring. That’s the idea. But I just don’t see it happening. In my own talks with Lakers fans and writers, it’s believed that some of Bynum’s success can be credited to the presence of Gasol. It’s an example of pick your poison since you can’t stop them both. Here with Hawes, well, defenses will be willing to let Hawes take his shots. I don’t think it’ll work out and I also don’t think the success of that experiment will determine the team’s overall success.
DS- I think the Hawes-Gasol experiment will work much better once they get deeper into the season, or maybe even next year. Hawes has proven he can dish the ball to the open man and will have his share of opportunities whenever Bynum gets double-teamed.
JA- I think this experiment could work because Hawes can step out and shoot the 15-19 foot jumper which will draw the defense towards him and leave Bynum down low to get the easy dunks and put backs.
JQ- I laughed out loud when I read Collins’ quote comparing Hawes to Gasol. Sure, they are both white 7-footers with a mid-range game, but the similarities end there. There isn’t a single thing on the court Hawes does as well as Gasol. He is worse in every single way. And the worst part is if Hawes plays to his potential, meaning he scores 10-12 points consistently, rebounds consistently, and shows just an ounce of a mean streak, the Sixers will be a really good basketball team. Personally, I have no faith that Hawes can do either of these things, and I would much rather see Lavoy Allen in the starting lineup.
JM- Somewhat. I think it’s a good thing that Spencer can focus on shooting jumpers rather than pretending like he has a post game. However, at the end of the day, he is not Pau Gasol and shouldn’t shoot jumpers so much that he is taking away touches from Bynum. I don’t think it is that important to the Sixers success because Hawes will not take the attention away from Bynum. I think it’s more important for Hawes to know what his limit is in terms of taking shots.
SB- Well look at the positives of this experiment first. Hawes can pull the big man away from the paint with his solid mid range game and allow Bynum to dominate down low. He will have more range than most guys he will be guarding, so those opposing players will be out of their comfort zone. Now to the negatives of this idea. He does not have the quickness to keep up with these more athletic players at the forward position. Other than his shot blocking ability, Hawes is a mediocre defender who will be exposed many times at his new position.

Which Sixers game(s) are you looking forward to the most?

DN- The first game of the season vs the Nuggets on the 31st of October. Welcome back Andre Iguodala. Also, a rematch with the Celtics.

DS- I’m looking forward to the season opener in Philly against Andre Iguodala and the Nuggets. Also, their match up on national TV against Boston on Dec. 7th.

JA- The Sixers game I am looking forward to the most on the Eastern Conference side is games between the Heat, Celtics, and Nets. On the Western Conference side I am looking forward to the Sixers playing the Lakers.

JQ- I’m probably alone here, but I’m most looking forward to the preseason game vs. the new look Brooklyn Nets in Atlantic City. While preseason games don’t matter all that much, I’m anxious to see how we stack up against the other revamped team in the Atlantic division. I want to see Bynum dominate Brook Lopez, Evan Turner take it to Joe Johnson, and Jrue Holiday hold his own against Deron Williams. And I’ll be going to the game, so there’s that.

JM- February 23 vs Miami

SB- There are many intriguing options on the docket for the Sixers, but one game really caught my eye. The evening of February 23rd will bring the defending NBA champion Miami Heat to the Wells Fargo Center. Miami will not only be the team to beat in the East, but someone who the Sixers have never been able to match up well with. Hopefully, with the addition of Bynum and more shooters off the bench, they can be very competitive with the Heat.

Who wins the Atlantic Division?

DN- I keep going back and forth with the Sixers and Celtics. I tend to lean towards the Celtics more so I’ll go with them. But this is one prediction that I seriously think nobody is 100% sure of yet.

DS- I think the Boston Celtics will win the Atlantic Division this year. They pack experience and did make some clever moves to improve the team over the summer.

JA- I think the Sixers win the Atlantic Division and I’m not being biased but I think it will come down between them and the Celtics for the title.

JQ- Come playoff time, I think the Sixers could be the best team in the Atlantic Division. But I’m still picking the Celtics to win the division. We’ve been hearing how old they are for a long time now, and it never seems to matter. They had a quiet but successful offseason, adding Jason Terry and Courtney Lee for some much needed backcourt scoring. They resigned Jeff Green, who missed all of 2011 with a heart problem but should be 100% heading into the year. And they drafted a guy in Jared Sullinger who looked dominant in the summer league and should contribute off the bench right away. Sixers and Nets will take time to mesh with their new rosters, and the Knicks are the Knicks. Celtics will win the division.

JM- Sixers

SB- Although the Sixers are much improved from last year, they may still not be able to win their division. With the re-signing of Kevin Garnett, who was a handful for the Sixers in the playoffs and former Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry, the Celtics are still the favorites going into the season. That being said, if the Sixers can handle them head to head, they have a good shot at bringing a division title to Broad Street.

 

What is the 76ers’ final record and seeding in the East? How far will they go in playoffs?

DN- Oh dear. i put these questions on because these are the types of questions we love reading about. But I sure dread writing about it. Sixers finish 50-32. Yes, I think they could get to 50 wins. I have also said that record shouldn’t be the ultimate concern. As long as the team takes the next step to build a contender, I really don’t care for the record. But, they definately better make it out of the first round or it’s a bust. Getting by the second round is possible. I think they can make the East finals, especially if team chemistry is on point by then.

DS- The Sixers will finish 45-37. They’ll finish with the fifth seed and will make it to the conference semifinals. I can’t see them making the Conference Finals unless they avoid teams like Miami, Chicago and Boston.

JA- I think the Sixers final record will be 50-32 and they will finish as a 2 or 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. I think if everything goes well, they could go as far as the Eastern Conference Finals.

JQ- The Sixers will finish the year 49-33, their best record since Iverson led them to the finals in 2001. This will put them 4th in the east behind Miami, Boston and the Nets. They will take care of the 5th seed Pacers in the first round of the playoffs, but lose to the Heat in the second round.

JM- 48-34. 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference, will lose to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals.

SB- After scanning through the schedule, the Sixers will have fans very excited when they finish 50-32. That will earn them the second seed in the Eastern Conference behind the defending champion Heat. I predict they will give us a playoff journey much like the wonderful 2001 season. They will capture our attention and emotion all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately, they will run into a Heat team that is determined to prove that last season was not a fluke.

 

Alright so that’s it. Do you have a question you want to ask the staff? Feel free to leave it in the comments and a post will be dedicated to answering those questions.

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