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|Hopefully for C’s fans, 76ers star Andre Iguodala, above, will be scratching his head a lot this season.(Courtesy of NBA.com)|
The Celtics and division rival 76ers are going in opposite directions. This off-season, the C’s traded most of their future for two superstars (Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett). The 76ers did the opposite during last season, trading their franchise player in Allen Iverson in order to begin rebuilding. The Celtics are hyped to do big things this year; the 76ers have little or no expectations. The Celtics have a veteran team sprinkled with young players; the Sixers have a team stacked with young talent and one veteran (point guard Andre Miller). Despite their different tracks, the teams will meet four times this season.
76ers 2006-2007 Team Review
2006-07 Record: 35-49 (3rd place, 12 games out in the Atlantic Division)
What went right: The Sixers finally turned a new leaf last season. Things weren’t working out with Iverson and PF Chris Webber, and they finally pulled the plug and turned the team over to 23-year-old Andre Iguodala. They were 5-10 (.333 winning percentage) with Iverson last season, and a surprising 30-39 (.434) without him. In the Iverson deal, they landed a top point guard in the NBA in Andre Miller (who at the time of the trade was averaging more than 9 assists). Iguodala averaged 18.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.7 assists and looks to be a future star for the team.
What went wrong: Well, the Sixers traded one of the most marketable players in NBA history. I would assume the trade had tremendous financial implications (in the form of season ticket sales, merchandise revenue and perhaps advertising revenue). The Sixers missed the playoffs for the second-straight season, and three out of the last four seasons.
2006-07 Season Grade: C-
76ers 2007 Off-season Team Review
Key Additions: PF Reggie Evans, SF Thaddeus Young, SG Daequan Cook, PG Petteri Koponen, PF Kyrylo Fesenko
Key Losses: C Steven Hunter, F Bobby Jones
Reaction: Earlier today, the 76ers made their first transaction this offseason not related to the draft in trading reserve center Steven Hunter and forward Bobby Jones to the Nuggets for forward Reggie Evans and center Ricky Sanchez. Evans is a nice addition to any team looking for rebounding help, and will match well with center Samuel Dalembert up front. Other than the Evans move, the Sixers have been pretty quiet this offseason, sitting idle with a roster that includes former all-star Andre Miller and future all-star Andre Iguodala.
Off-Season Grade: C
76ers 2007-08 Season Preview vs. Celtics
Boston @ Philadelphia, Dec. 5
Philadelphia @ Boston, Jan. 18
Boston @ Philadelphia, March 10
Philadelphia @ Boston, March 24
How the projected starting lineups stack up:
(“x” marks which team has the edge)
|C||Kendrick Perkins||Samuel Dalembert||x|
|PF||x||Kevin Garnett||Reggie Evans|
|SF||x||Paul Pierce||Andre Iguodala|
|SG||x||Ray Allen||Kyle Korver|
|PG||Rajon Rondo||Andre Miller||x|
The Edge: Again, the edge goes to the Big Three (Allen, Pierce, KG). Perk and Dalembert are different types of centers. Perk is a really big guy similar to Shaq (but smaller) that can use his weight to get rebounds. Dalembert, on the other hand, is an extremely athletic big man who can block shots like crazy. The comparison between Rondo and Miller isn’t close yet, but could get a lot closer this season as Rondo will move into his own as the starting PG. Miller is slightly on the decline, and in two years may not compare to Rondo.
Final Prediction: Look for the Sixers to stumble most of the year, as the Atlantic Division should prove to be one of the stronger divisions in the East. In all seriousness, there could be four Atlantic teams making the playoffs, but sadly I think the Sixers will not be one of them. They may finish in fourth or fifth in the division depending how poorly the Knicks play. Don’t get me wrong, the Sixers are talented, but I’d say a year or two away from becoming a steady East contender again.