While many remain disappointed that management decided to trade away the face of the Sixers franchise in Jrue Holiday, others remain optimistic that the team has finally distinguished a direction: the future.
2013-2014 is bound to be a brutal season to watch for Philadelphia fans, but the idea that Sam Hinkie has a plan that he believes can bring a title to the City of Brotherly Love is a reason to remain faithful.
The Sixers will have two picks in next summer’s deep draft unless the New Orleans Pelicans stumble all the way to a top-five pick. In addition to the pick that came in the package along with Nerlens Noel for Jrue Holiday, the Sixers should have a high pick themselves, perhaps even No.1 overall.
Unlike this draft, there is a clear No.1 pick in 2014, Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins is viewed by most NBA braintrusts as a franchise-changer. If the Sixers are in dire need of one thing, it is just that.
Regardless, the 2013-2014 season will be played, and here is a look at how the players currently under contract may perform in comparison to the rest of the team. While Khalif Wyatt has made a case for himself to be a part of the Sixers’ roster, he will be left off the list until a decision is made.
1. Thaddeus Young, Forward
Other than Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young was the most productive player for the Sixers a season ago. With averages 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds, his numbers are respectable. Despite having his best season as a pro, the numbers do not limit Young.
Hustle play after hustle play define Thaddeus Young as a player. Whether it be coming up with a loose ball, running down a ball on its way out of bounds, or securing a key offensive rebound, Thaddeus did it all.
Defensively, despite being somewhat undersized for the power forward position, his activity and length make up for it. His athleticism and quick hands allow him to come away with steals from bigger opponents while being able to bother smaller defenders with his length.
2. Evan Turner, Guard/Forward
Evan Turner is poised to be the team’s go-to scorer this season. While he is not by any stretch of the imagination your ideal No.1 option, Turner will likely be given his last chance to prove that he is worth holding on to. Otherwise, he may be wearing a different jersey come next season, or even earlier.
Turner has proven to be somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades however, averaging 13.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per contest a season ago. The Ohio State product is at his best when he is backing down smaller defenders and making plays for others. His shooting has improved, but it is certainly still in the early stages.
If Turner plans on signing an extension to stay in Philadelphia, he will need to prove himself worthy. With new ownership, they will likely not give him the benefit of the doubt. At times, Evan has shown flashes of greatness. At other times, he has proven to be far too inconsistent to be signed to a long-term deal.
3. Spencer Hawes, Center
Spencer Hawes has been one of the most criticized Sixers in recent memory, perhaps second to Evan Turner. Despite all the criticism, there is no question that he is one of the better players on an abysmal roster for the upcoming season.
Hawes averaged 11 points and 7.2 rebounds a season ago. His strength remains in his ability to have the offense run through him in the high post. As a playmaker, Spencer has proven efficient. In 2012-2013, he managed to average 2.2 assists per game, a pretty good number for a center that only played 27 minutes per game.
4. Arnett Moultrie, Forward/Center
Many were furious that Moultrie did not get as much burn as they hoped for once showing some promise. When Thaddeus Young went down with a hamstring injury, Moultrie was called upon to provide minutes for much needed depth.
At times, Moultrie showed why the Sixers projected him as a top-ten talent, but was inconsistent along with the rest of the team at times. While some of the blame may fall on former coach Doug Collins for playing him just limited minutes despite being out of playoff contention, Moultrie is still not a lock to have a successful career.
Regardless, Arnett should see many more minutes in his sophomore season and should improve with time.
5. Michael Carter-Williams, Point Guard
Carter-Williams is likely to replace Jrue Holiday as the starting point guard come day one of the season. His strength is at the defensive end where his 6’5″ frame allows him to disrupt other guards while playing the passing lanes.
At times in his career at Syracuse, MCW struggled to make good decisions. However, he showed a great feel for passing the basketball, particularly in transition.
The Sixers lack offensive weapons, which may make things difficult for a rookie point guard who struggles to score from the perimeter. Ultimately, for Carter-Williams to be successful, his shooting ability will need to improve.
At Summer League in Orlando, the rookie showed a lot of promise while also having glimpses that draw concern. His turnover issues were very apparent, but his ability to score and create for others were very impressive.