After a heart-breaking loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, the Sixers have reached the midpoint of the 2012-2013 NBA Season. With a record of 17-24, Philadelphia sits at the 9th seed in the Eastern Conference, 3.5 games out of the playoffs.
Although a much disappointing season thus far for the 76ers, there are a few positives to take out of the first 41 games. The young, inexperienced team has showcased plenty a potential at times. They have accumulated some impressive wins such as road wins against the Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, and Boston Celtics, all with superior talent on paper.
During the first half of a season filled with inconsistent play, disappointing losses, and inexplicable mistakes, one individual has stood out. Jrue Holiday has emerged as an All-Star talent. Holiday is the team leader in scoring and assists, with 19.2 and 8.9 per game respectively. The 22 year old point guard out of UCLA has taken the leadership role on a struggling team and excelled. At times this season, Jrue has put the team on his shoulders and willed them to victory. Take this Saturday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors for example. Holiday scored 33 points and racked up 14 assists in route to an overtime win.
For every step forward the Sixers have taken so far, they have taken two, and sometimes three, steps back. There are many areas the team is lacking in right now. The number one concern has to be the play of the big men. As well as Thaddeus Young has played, your big men are struggling mightily when he is your leading rebounder. The Sixers as a team have struggled on the glass on a nightly basis, allowing 44 rebounds per game while only grabbing 41. They rank 23rd in the NBA in that category.
Defense must be another big concern for Doug Collins’ team as we enter the second half of the NBA season. While the Sixers have been much improved on that side of the court under Collins, they have struggled to be consistent this season. They have allowed 97.1 per, and the obvious reason is that Andrew Bynum has not yet stepped foot in between the lines.
As much negativity may be surrounding the Sixers through the first half of this season, look for them to improve drastically when the big man makes his return. Bynum will certainly cover up the 76ers deficiencies in many areas, but until then, look for the losses to continue to pile on.