Mar 21, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Arnett Moultrie (5) during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 101-100. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

3 Players that Need to Step Up for Sixers

Simply said, the Sixers won’t be vying for a playoff birth come spring. Instead, they will likely be doing their due diligence by scouting and getting to know potential top-5 picks in the 2014 draft.

With that being the case, GM Sam Hinkie will still be looking for particular players to step up. Here is a look at who those may be.

Evan Turner

Turner was the No.2 pick in the 2010 draft and has yet to come remotely close to living up to that expectation. Sporadic glimpses of greatness followed by crucial mistakes down the stretch sum up the swingman’s career thus far.

Most recently, his shot selection has been criticized. Too many times in Doug Collins’ last season as head coach, Turner refused to attack the rim and instead pulled up for a contested twenty footer. Although his jump shot has improved since he entered the league, he has not proven consistent enough to force shots from that distance.

There has been much speculation since last season about Turner’s future. Would he be traded at the deadline? At the deadline? Would he stay in Philadelphia? If the last option is the case, at season’s end Sam Hinkie will need to make a decision on whether or not to let him walk for nothing or re-sign him to an extension.

At this point, there is no reason to believe that Hinkie would be willing to put out $7 million or so for an average role player at best. Turner will be given the opportunity to be the No.1 scoring option for the first time in his career. What he does with that opportunity may be the deciding factor on his future.

Unfortunately for Turner, there is no guarantee that even if he does perform well that he will be in a Sixers’ uniform after the trade deadline. Hinkie may view Turner’s numbers as inflated if he does produce. Fool’s gold. A contending team, or a desperate one for that matter, may be willing to part with assets to acquire the three-year vet. If that is the case, do not be shocked if Hinkie pulls the trigger on a deal.

Arnett Moultrie

After spending the majority of his rookie campaign in the NBA’s D-League, Moultrie finally saw significant minutes come his way when Thaddeus Young went down with a hamstring injury.

In his limited role, the 2012 first-rounder showed some promise, toughness, and skill. His athleticism and rebounding ability was a breath of fresh air from Spencer Hawes’ finesse skill set.

With no plan to contend for at least a year or so, expect him to be much more involved in his sophomore season. Despite the promise that Moultrie did exhibit at the end of last year, what his true potential is has not been seen yet.

Although the young big man has not seen much time in the NBA to this point, Hinkie will have his eye on Moultrie. Whether or not he can produce in a starter’s role, reserve’s role, or any role at all consistently has yet to be seen. This season will directly influence the rest of Moultrie’s stay in Philly.

Thaddeus Young

As hard as it may be to believe at just 25 years old, Thaddeus is one of the most experienced player on the Sixers’ roster. With that said, his time in Philly may be coming to a close sooner than originally expected.

Young’s name popped up in numerous trade rumors on Hinkie’s hectic draft night. With the Sixers completely re-tooling, it may be the right time to see what other teams feel Thad’s value is, and what they are willing to give up.

Knowing Hinkie, he will likely shop Young for draft picks. It is well documented that the Rockets had much success in the draft, including the second round, during the Daryl Morey and Sam Hinkie era.

Thad will enter the season as the team’s unquestioned leader, but may not be a part of the team come April. His production may be able to keep him in Philadelphia though. If Hinkie thinks that Young can be valuable for another seven or eight seasons, don’t be shocked if he hangs on to the Georgia Tech product for the long haul.

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Tags: Arnett Moultrie Evan Turner Philadelphia 76ers Sam Hinkie Thaddeus Young

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