2008-2009 Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview
2008 Philadelphia 76ers preview from MadduxSports.com. Before you leave grab unbeatable nba picks from our NBA handicappers.
Last season the Philadelphia 76ers (40- 42) made a 22 out of 34 run at the end of the season to make it into the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-2005 season. It was an odd season—one in which the 76ers were Allen Iverson-less for the entire year. The club started slowly, going 5-13. Vet point guard Andre Miller, who was the main man in the Iverson deal, kicked it into gear part way through the 2007-2008 season, and as time went on, young guys Louis Williams, Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith started to gel into a unit. One major move that seemed to propel the team into action was the firing of GM Billy King and the hiring of new GM Ed Stefanski. Stefanski connected on a mid-season trade with Utah that garnered shooting guard Gordan Giricek. The team met the Detroit Pistons in round one and gave them a run for their money before being eliminated from the playoff picture.
The youth of the team such as Williams, Young and Smith and the NBA vets, which included Miller and Giricek, proved to be athletic, motivated and hard working. As they went deep into the season, the Sixers seemed determined to make every game count and as they made every game count they became more and more successful. They proved that they could press a team into turnovers and also stop them from getting off their initial shots. They also played relatively clean basketball, stealing a lot but fouling little. Their transition offense was often seamless as they stole, ran and scored with aplomb.
The signing of power forward Elton Brand this past July while trading forward Rodney Carney and Calvin Booth for a future round one pick helped to vastly improve this team for the upcoming season. Sixteenth pick forward/center Marreese Speights could pay dividends.
Brand, who’s rehabbed from an Achilles tear, will have an immediate effect. The nine-year vet averaged 17.6 PPG and 8.0 RPG last season. Young, who had 8.2 PPG and 4.2 RPG playing power forward in his rookie season, should be even better this year as he moves to small forward. Center Samuel Dalembert was a solid double-double guy with 10.5 PPG and 10.4 RPG.
The addition of shooting guard Kareem Rush, a 39% three-point shooter and 40% field goal shooter, should help from downtown. Point guard Andre Miller, who came to the team in the Iverson deal, averaged 6.9 APG and 17.0 PPG. This season, swingman Andre Iguodala will move from small forward to shooting guard. He’s athletic and able to hit from anywhere. Off the bench, Louis Williams averaged 11.5 PPG last season. This backcourt has great scoring and defensive potential.
Last season, the Sixers lacked shooting. Brand will help with that in two ways—through his own shot and his mentoring of young guys. Look for some classic battles between Philadelphia and Boston—two tough defensive teams. The Sixers will run the court and quickly. A winning season, second-place in the Atlantic and a playoff berth all look promising.