Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

The Philadelphia 76ers are already in trouble with only eight games played in the 2010-2011 season. Although it is too early to panic, many analysts and fans are ready to write off the Sixers with regards to a possible playoff appearance. Their place in the Eastern Conference seems unimportant, surrounded by such juggernauts as the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics.

Philadelphia fans are already looking at this Sixers’ season as a stepping stone to another lottery draft pick, and hopefully another top three pick.

It is true that this team’s performance has been dismal so far, but through eight games there have been a few bright spots.

The addition of Head Coach Doug Collins has not paid off in the wins column, but the experienced coach has brought along a new offensive scheme that has a new-found excitement in the locker room, a vacant feeling from the past few seasons. The former first round draft pick himself, Collins is attempting to mold the Sixers’ second pick of the draft, Evan Turner, into a superstar.

Evan Turner is off to a slow start to some fans standards but considering his limited playing time he is showing a strong upside.

Turner is averaging 10 points and six rebounds per game as he attempts to get his feet on the ground. A large part of why Turner has not seen the court as much as he had hoped is because of the consistent performance of two former first round draft picks of the Sixers, Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday.

Williams is off to a hot start for the season as he is quickly becoming the go-to guy for the 76ers. Averaging 16.4 points and 3.8 assists per game, the young guard is trying to solidify his role on the team by attempting to bring electricity to the team, a sight that has not been seen in Philly basketball since the glory days of Allen Iverson.

Williams’ success so far has been largely influenced by another young guard on the team, Jrue Holiday. Through eight games he has solidified his role on the starting lineup by leading the team in assists per game with 6.8, while adding a solid 14.5 points per game as well.

It will be interesting to see how Doug Collins attempts to balance the playing time between his three young guards for the rest of the season.

The biggest surprise for the 76ers to this point is the stellar play of the highest paid player on the roster, Elton Brand. Brand has been the topic of nothing but disappointment since his arrival in Philadelphia via free agency in 2008, but with the guidance of Doug Collins he is finally performing to his potential this season. The forward out of Duke University is leading the Sixers in three key stat categories with 18.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game on the season. Although the team has only two wins on the year, Brand’s success has kept the team close in all eight games.

There obviously has to be some sort of problem with the team if the 76ers have only been able to win two games thus far, and many people attribute that failure to the average play of “star” forward Andre Iguodala and the lack of team performance in the second half of games.

Andre Iguodala has heard nothing but scrutiny since he inked a six-year, 80 million dollar contract in 2008. Iguodala has had a career full of above average but less than star statistics, which is a problem because of his large price tag.

He is not a bad player by any means, but his lack of living up to his potential continues to hinder the 76ers from potential success. Throughout the beginning of the season, he continued to put up similar statistics of a number two or three player on a good team, but he needs to step up to that potential for this struggling Sixers team.

All individual player performances aside, the team is struggling as a whole. The 76ers rank right in the middle of the league in almost all categories, yet they have only been able to scrape together two wins on the season. A continuing problem for the team is the inability to finish their games strongly during the second half. When the third quarter rolls around, the team has a knack for slipping into a pattern of getting outplayed time and time again.

In order to be successful this year, the Sixers need to find a way to balance the playing time of Evan Turner, Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday. Doug Collins needs to find a system in order to get the best out of these three players that have the potential to lead this team to a playoff appearance.

It has been a rough start to the 2011 season so far, but it isn’t time yet to pray for the number one draft pick for next year.

Mark Gionta is a fourth-year student majoring in professional studies. He can be reached at MG649676@wcupa.edu.

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