The 76ers should have handed out name tags at training camp. Of the 18 players at training camp, only six were with the Sixers when last season ended. And that returning group includes Xavier Silas, whom most Sixers season ticket-holders couldn’t pick out of a lineup. Everyone else needs an introduction.
Hi, my name is Nick.
Hi, my name is Arnett.
The Sixers came within one victory of reaching the Eastern Conference finals last season, but management clearly decided that was as far as they could go with that group. The result was a season of turnover. The Sixers are hoping this is the rare positive basketball turnover.
Hi, my name is Dorell.
Hi, my name is Jason.
The most significant piece that was moved was Andre Iguodala. The centerpiece of the team for the past five years, Iguodala couldn’t live up to the huge contract he signed.
That doesn’t mean Iguodala isn’t a good player. He is an excellent defender and a decent scorer. Down the stretch last season and during the playoffs, he even became a clutch performer, something he had been criticized for not being during his Sixers career.
But Iguodala is gone, sent to Denver in a multi-team trade. Super-sub Lou Williams, the team’s leading scorer last season, is also gone. Elton Brand, who brought hustle, pride and professionalism to the Sixers, was sent packing with a hearty thank you.
Hi, my name is Kwame.
Hi, my name is Andrew.
“Andrew” is Andrew Bynum, the centerpiece of the Sixers’ offseason makeover. You won’t see him when the Sixers open preseason action Thursday (7 p.m.) at Orlando. You won’t see him Saturday at the Atlantic City Convention Center, where the Sixers will host the Brooklyn Nets.
Bynum is sidelined by a bone bruise in his right knee. The Sixers are optimistic that he will be ready for the season opener on Halloween against Iguodala and the Nuggets. Forgive Sixers fans if they don’t find that news overly encouraging.
Bynum, a 7-foot, 285-pound center, is the key to the Sixers’ change in style. He provides a low-post presence on offense, a component sorely missing from the Sixers’ attack last season. He also provides a big body in the middle on defense.
Only the sky-is-falling faction of Sixers fans is prepared to mention Bynum in the same sentence as Jeff Ruland, but having a center with a history of knee problems miss training camp due to a knee injury is enough to make the most optimistic fan nervous.
Hi, my name is Damien.
Hi, my name is Royal. I’ve been here before.
The four-team deal that brought Bynum to the Sixers also brought guard Jason Richardson to the Sixers. The 6-foot-6 veteran guard allows Evan Turner to move to small forward. Richardson, Nick Young and Dorell Wright should vastly improve the Sixers’ 3-point shooting, which was another weakness last season.
Hi, my name is Maalik.
Hi, my name is Devin.
The Sixers should be interesting to watch, even during preseason. There is a lot of competition for playing time. There also should be some competition for roster spots.
Hello, my name is Dan.
Hello, my name is Mikki.
Not all of the roster spots are up for grabs. Jrue Holiday is etched in stone as the starting point guard. After coming off the bench most of last season, Turner will start, most likely at small forward. Thaddeus Young will get playing time, although exactly where he fits in with this new Sixers rotation is still an open question.
Lavoy Allen, a revelation during the playoffs, should see time at power forward and center. So should Spencer Hawes, which highlights the decisions head coach Doug Collins will have to make regarding rotation and playing time.
Watching Collins try different combinations will be one of the most interesting aspects of the preseason. Seeing the Sixers knock down 3-pointers – and trying to figure out how all the sharpshooters will be able to share a basketball and playing time – should be another interesting storyline to follow.
Use the preseason to familiarize yourself with the new-look 76ers, a team that definitely needs an introduction.