The Philadelphia 76ers will open the 2004-2005 regular season tomorrow night, with a return by their new head coach Jim O?Brien to the Fleet center to face his old team, the Boston Celtics.O?Brien?s three-ball savvy offensive style should bring a fresh feel this season down at the Wachovia Center.
The Sixers went 6-2 in the preseason, getting ready for an important year after last season?s coaching change drama. “That stuff is all behind us, the real stuff is ahead, and I couldn?t be happier,” said O?Brien, after Thursday night?s win over the Nets.
“I think the sky?s the limit. I think that the best part of going into this season is everybody isn?t talking about the 76ers coming out of the East. I think that?s really going to help us,” said Allen Iverson.
A.I. will need to match his totals form last year for the Sixers to be in any kind of contention in the East. Iverson is entering his ninth season as a Sixer.
The Sixers will also rely on second year forward Kyle Korver as a three point specialist. Korver averaged 39 percent from beyond the arch last season and O?Brien has made it clear that a similar perfomance is expected of him.
O?Brien announced a surprising starting lineup last week. A.I. will move to the point with Aaron McKie as shooting guard. Rookie Andre Iguodala will start at small forward with Kenny Thomas at the power forward slot, and Temple?s Marc Jackson will be the big man in the middle.
After the disappointing 2003-2004 season leaving them out of the playoffs, the Sixers ? revamped lineup should at the very least bring some excitement to the fl oor. The raw athleticism of rookie Andre Iguodala alone is something to be excited about.
On July 14, the Sixers signed 6-foot 7-inch forward Brian Skinner. Skinner returns to the Sixers after having career highs last year in Milwaukee averaging 10.5 points with 7.3 rebounds.
On July 20, the Sixers traded Eric Snow to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kedrick Brown and Kevin Ollie.
This marks Ollie?s third stint with the Sixers. The 6-foot-7-inch, 220-pound. Brown is entering his fourth season in the NBA, after being drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2001. The Sixers will miss Snow?s veteran leadership at point guard. The 31-year-old Snow averaged 9.7 points and 6.6 assists per game for the Sixers.
On August 4, the Sixers traded Derrick Coleman and Amal McCaskill to the Pistons for Corlis Williamson. Williamson is a 49.2 percent fi eld goal shooter and is a much needed offensive addition. For the most part, the Sixers were injury free this preseason.
Starting forward Kenny Thomas was poked in the right eye by the Nets? Nenad Kristic Thursday night in a scramble for a rebound and suffered a scratched cornea.
Samuel Dalembert suffered a right knee contusion. Brian Skinner has left knee pain and Kevin Ollie suffered a left hip pointer.
Todd MacCulloch recently announced his retirement on Sept. 22 due to a condition called foot neuropathy, which has plagued him for the past two years. MacCulloch missed the whole 2003-2004 season and 40 games in 2002-2003.
MacCulloch will continue with his color commentary alongside Sixers radio broadcaster Tom Mcginnis. The Sixers open at home Friday, Nov. 5 against the Phoenix Suns.