This is the latest installment of PBT’s series of “What your team should do when the lockout ends.” Up next is the Philadelphia 76ers. You can also check out our thoughts on other NBA teams here as we work our way through all 30 squads.
After a miserable 09-10 campaign, the 76ers made their way back to respectability last season, earning a playoff berth and putting up a decent fight in the 1st round against the eventual conference champion Heat. Despite #2 overall pick Evan Turner having a disappointing season, the 76ers responded to new coach Doug Collins, and were one of the 10 best defensive teams in the league. Here’s what the 76ers can do to build on last season’s playoff birth:
1. Make a decision on Andre Iguodala
The 76ers owe Iguodala approximately 14 million dollars this season and next season, and Iguodala has a $15 million player option for the season after that. At this point in his career, we know who Iguodala is: a great perimeter defender who’s a terror on the fast break, can contribute without the ball in his hands, can make open threes on occasion, and a player who is not capable of being an efficient #1 option offensively. The 76ers have to decide whether they want to move ahead with Iguodala, which would probably make them better in the short-term, or try to get rid of his contract and go into more of a full rebuild mode — again.
2. Get more out of Evan Turner
One year after an absolute monster campaign at Ohio State, Turner struggled throughout his rookie season. Turner averaged only seven points, four rebounds, and two assists per game last year, and is PER was an ugly 10.87. It’s way, way, way too early to give up on Turner, but he needs to make major strides in his sophomore campaign. Turner needs to get comfortable shooting from beyond the NBA three-point line, figure out how to break down defenses with his passing, and go to the hoop more aggressively when he decides to drive.
3. Continue to believe in the youth movement
Thaddeus Young, Louis Williams, and Jrue Holliday all had promising seasons for the 76ers, and were among the main reasons the team made it into the playoffs. Marreese Speights had a down year in 2010-11, but he had been showing a lot of promise before this season. If those players continue to develop, Turner finds his game, and the 76ers can find a way to seamlessly transition out of the Brand/Iguodala era, they could be a very good team for a while under Doug Collins.