Nov 16 2013

Same Old Sixers?

It’s only ten games into the season, but patterns are starting to emerge.

Evan Turner is playing at an All-Star level. MCW is an early favorite for Rookie of the Year, and Tony Wroten is playing well off the bench. On any given night, the Sixers can go out and win. We’ve already seen the Sixers win games they had no business winning versus the Heat, Bulls, and Rockets.

But as we saw last night against the Hawks, the Sixers are still a young squad prone to silly turnovers and defensive lapses. Silly me, I actually expected Philly to win last night — and that scares me.

We underestimated the Sixers and overestimated the rest of the league. We thought E.T. was in love with his mid-range game. Now, he leads the league in points off drives to the basket. We thought MCW would need time to develop. That’s still true, but he’s already won Eastern Conference Player of the Week…in his first week in the NBA.

Through ten games, the Sixers are playing better than we all expected. (Well, most of us).

But for now, I see a team (as currently constructed) that’ll win 30-plus games and flirt with mediocrity. I’m seeing the same old Sixers.

Here are three things to keep an eye on tonight:

Jrue Faces His Old Squad: Jrue Holiday plays for the Hornets Pelicans (Editor’s note: had to find/replace Hornets with Pelicans). He knows that now. Unfortunately for the Holiday isn’t playing like his old self. He’s shooting a career-worst 39.8 percent from the field and will need to improve on that if the Hornets expect to make any sort of noise in the Western Conference.

Anderson Returns: According to NOLA.com, Ryan Anderson will likely suit up tonight. The Pelicans are last in the league in 3-point attempts, even though they are in the top five in 3-point field goal percentage. The Sixers have had their issues defending the 3-point line and the return of Ryan Anderson will only put more pressure on a defesive unit giving up 108 points a game (good for last in the NBA).

Pick and Roll Defense: The Pelicans come home after going 0-3 on their three-game road trip, capped off by a loss to the previously winless Utah Jazz. According to our friends at bourbonstreetshots.com, 12 of the Jazz’s last 13 possessions were high pick and rolls. They only managed two stops. Look for more pick and rolls for the Sixers tonight.