Bullets Fever

A blog and community website for the Washington Wizards and their fans.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Analyzing the Competition

One could argue that the Philadelphia 76ers saw everything go right for them and still missed the playoffs. After all, often injured stars Allen Iverson and Chris Webber missed only 17 games between them, with 2 of those coming on Fan Appreciation Night. Saying that, however, would mean you're dismissing various other smaller factors that did not go as well as planned. Andre Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert did not have the breakout seasons everyone expected them to have, and Willie Greene missed nearly the entire season, robbing the Sixers of another perimeter guard. Despite all that, the 76ers were firmly in the playoffs for much of the year, but a late-season swoon saw them fall behind surging Chicago and Milwaukee for the final playoff spot. They were 30-28 after a big win over the Wizards, but finished the year 8-16 and out of the playoffs, depsite Iverson and Webber's heroics. Considering their expected win-loss ratio was more like 35-47, the Sixers were probably simply bound for a bad stretch. It was a dissapointing end to a dissapointing year.

Additions: Alan Henderson (FA-?), Rodney Carney (Draft 1-16), Bobby Jones (Draft 2-37)
Subtractions: John Salmons (FA-Sacramento),

Despite another offseason of loud trade rumors, Allen Iverson is back to lead the charge. Carney and Jones should provide depth, but anytime you're hoping to rely on a mid-level draft pick like Carney to be a potential starter, you are in trouble. Salmons was not a big loss, as his numbers were inflated by his minutes.

Essentially, Philly is bringing back the same team as they did last year. Their only hope for improvements rests in guys like Iguodala, Dalembert, and the rookies. Iverson and Webber have both probably maxed out, and it's likely one or both will miss an extended period of time this season. The Sixers also know what they're getting in Kyle Korver, so they shouldn't expect much improvement with him. Iguodala may be the key. He wasn't terrible last season, but most people were expecting more than 13 points and 6.2 rebounds a game. His rebounding numbers actually went down despite getting more time. Unfortunately for the Sixers, as long as Iverson and Webber are dominating the ball, Iguodala's talents will be wasted. It will take an injury from one of the two stars for Iguodala to reach his full potential.

It would be a godsend if Carney can step in and steal Korver's starting job, but I don't expect it to happen yet. Carney is a little raw offensively and still needs more game-experience. Jones may actually have a better chance of sticking, considering that his strength, perimeter defense, was the Sixers main weakness last year. Still, we're talking about rookies here.

In my opinion, the Sixers are going to be hard-pressed to match last season's 38 wins. Iverson and Webber are likely to miss more time, and the supporting cast is not much better than last year. It's much more likely that they'll fall down to 25 win territory than rise up to the 47 win territory that Passion and Pride predicted. In fact, I say they finish below the Knicks this year.

Projected Record: 27-55

Think I screwed this one up? Let me know. How many wins do you think Philadelphia will have this year?

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