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Philadelphia 76ers Preview - Passion and Pride

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phi.gifPhiladelphia 76ers - Passion and Pride
Last Years Record: 35-47
Key Losses: Joe Smith
Key Additions: Reggie Evans, Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith (sorry Wizards fans, Calvin Booth does not qualify as "key")

1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?

The Sixers held four picks going into the draft and came away with four players. They failed to resign Joe Smith, letting him walk to the Bulls. Steven Hunter and Bobby Jones were traded to the Denver Nuggets for Reggie Evans and Ricky Sanchez.

One player made a significant move on his own. Sam Dalembert played for Team Canada in the FIBA Americas tournament and suffered a stress fracture in his left foot. If he has to fight off injuries all year, it will be a long season for the Sixers.

2. What are the team’s biggest strengths?

This team has some depth on the wing with Willie Green, Rodney Carney, Thaddeus Young, Derrick Byars, Kyle Korver and Andre Iguodala. They have a true point guard who operates like a coach on the floor in Andre Miller. Kyle Korver is one of the best sixth men in the league. Then, there’s Mr. Do-Everything, Andre Iguodala.

He alone is the team’s biggest strength. He supposedly has been shooting 600-700 shots a day to expand his midrange game and develop a more consistent 3 point shot. If he can limit his turnovers, then you’re looking at a weapon who will be unstoppable.

3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?

Last year, it was getting beat off the glass that contributed to the 5-19 start. This year, Reggie Evans figures to erase that deficit. The problem is that he comes with other deficiencies to which the Sixers don’t have an answer. They don’t have an interior scorer and might be counting on the rookies to provide their best post option.

4. What are the goals for this team?

Expectations are low in a beefed up conference, but making the playoffs remains a goal. To accomplish it, it will require effort, energy and unbridled enthusiasm. I think we can count on one of the three on any given night, and often two of the three, but we’ll be hardpressed for all three on the same night. Maybe it would be different if we bridled the enthusiasm, whatever that means. This team promises to play hard every night and the way they ended the season, there’s no reason to believe that this can’t become reality.

5. Will Andre Iguodala become an all-star this season?

It will be close. The team is not marketing around him like it’s his team, so that leads me to believe he will miss out. He will certainly be the leader of this group.
The trade of Iverson removed the glass ceiling for ‘Dre. He should average over 20 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals this year. That will make him a valuable commodity to any fantasy league team.

Predicted Record: 30-52. There’s just too many question marks with the rookies and Dalembert’s health to predict an improvement over last year’s record. Don’t expect their 17-9 finish to the season last year to translate to a fast start. The Sixers should be more consistent and likely will finish near the same amount of wins, but I have to compensate for my last year’s prediction of 47 wins as my optimism got the best of me. I’m content to set the bar low and know that this time around, we at least are on the right course.

**Special thanks go out to Jeff Clark from celticsblog.com for organizing the NBA Blog Previews. Look for a wrap up on the Atlantic Division this weekend. Tomorrow morning, I’ll be posting an interview with Anthony Gilbert of AXG. You might know him from his work with Sole Collector Magazine, Peace Magazine, SLAM, DRIVE magazine, Vibe, ESPN and numerous other media ventures (such as BET and Style Network). Make sure to come back for that, and I will have a big announcement here tomorrow. Thanks!**