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Sixers End Season .500 with Loss to Pistons

Posted By Bennett Snyder On Apr 13 2011 @ 11:34 pm In Philadelphia 76ers | No Comments

The Sixers really faded down the stretch, and at one time were four games over the .500 mark and in the 6th place, before ending up 42-42 and becoming the 7th seed where they will see the Miami Heat in the first round.

If you take a step back and look at their season as a whole, any Sixer fan has to be happy. After an awful season last year under Eddie Jordan, the expectations were low, and after a 3-13 start to this season, they were even lower.

However, they bounced back after the poor start and were playing as well as any team for a while. The end of the season leaves a bitter taste but some injuries forced the downfall.

Here are the Sixer awards and the report card for each player.

Elton Brand:  Team MVP and A minus rating. After a few injury plagued lack luster years under Eddie Jordan, Brand bounced back with his best year as a 76er. He was Mr. Consistent. Every time he takes his mid-range jump shot I expect it to go in, unlike another player on the team. The reason i couldn’t go A plus or straight A is because of how big his contract is, and his numbers weren’t spectacular, but for his age and after what he has done in the past I couldn’t be happier with Brand.

Andre Iguodala: Defensive Player of the Year and B+. If it wasn’t for Dwight Howard he might be the NBA’s DPOY, but his shooting and his contract always seems to leave a bad after taste. He is the quiet leader, hes an athletic freak and his defense is spectacular, but if he takes one more end of game shot I want him traded. But, in all seriousness, this was one of Iggy’s best years statistically, and despite some injury problems helped the Sixers get back in the playoffs.

Jrue Holiday: Most Improved Player and B+. He really made a big stride in his game from last season. In my mind he went from prospect to solid NBA starter in only a year. Hopefully he can take his game up another level next year and be in the same pantheon of the other great NBA point guards right now, he has the ability and potential. It is hard for him to put up eye popping stats since the Sixers used Iguodala and sometimes Turner as a point forward instead of Jrue. I only gave him a B+ because he does have room to improve.

Spencer Hawes: C minus. He has some games where he looks like he can be a starting center for the next decade and others where he barely even plays, and looks awful. He is too Jekyll and Hyde right now. He has nice outside touch, which makes the teams opposing center out of the paint, but on the other end is no threat what so ever to block shots. He could be one of the best backup centers in the NBA but as a starter he doesn’t bring enough to the table.

Jodie Meeks: A. I know this seems like a strange grade but he went from the 10th man til the starter. This is only his second year and he has turned into the Sixers best weapon from the outside and a deadly three point shooter. I gave him an A also because I don’t see him having years any better than this. He is a very good outside shooting role player, who gives great energy and effort, but wouldn’t start for most teams that are good. I applaud everything he has done this year and he deserves this grade.

Lou Williams:  Tied for 6th man of the Year and B plus. He had a great year coming off the bench, and is one of the few players who can isolate to get off his own shot. He made a lot of late big game shots, but he is an awful defensive player, and when hes not shooting well he hinders the team, so I couldn’t give him an A rating. The Sixers went into their slide when Lou got hurt, so you can see how important he is to the team.

Thad Young: Tied for 6th man of the Year and A minus. He also was in the running for Most improved as well. His energy off the bench was amazing. The other amazing part was that his game improved greatly. He stopped settling for outside jumpers and drove the ball to the rack, where his quickness can put him past any power forward. He might have been my favorite player this year, him and Jrue. The Sixers have a tough decision to make with Thad being an upcoming free agent. They can’t afford to let him go, but they can’t afford to over pay him if another team throws a lot of cash at him.

Evan Turner: D. D for disappointing. Being the number 2 overall pick a lot was expected from Turner. In games he showed flashes of greatness, and when Iggy was hurt is when he had his best games. It’s clear that Iguodala and Turner can’t coexist because they essentially play the same position. Turner is naturally a lot more gifted offensively and I guarantee will improve his shooting in the off season, but Iggy is a veteran leader who is superior defensively and more athletic. I am not giving up on Turner in anyway shape or form. He still has a chance to be a great player in the NBA, like a small forward version of Rondo. It all depends on how he progresses in the offseason and what the Sixers decide to do with Iggy. If it is another year of Iggy without being traded, it will only hinder Turner, but the team will probably not be as good. In the long term, with Jrue and Evan together, it has a chance to be greater than what they are now with Iguodala, so they have to take that chance, and hope Turner has the work ethic to progress, and chemistry to coexist with Holiday. That young back court is the future of the Sixers in my opinion. What they need to do is trade Iguodala for a center like Tyson Chandler, a man who will be great on the boards and defend the pain. Then they need to draft a two guard who can get off his own shot. Like a taller, better defensive version of Lou Williams. If they do that, with the core they have now they can compete in the future.

The rest of the players like Andres Nocioni, Mo Speights, Jason Kapono etc. are not important enough to give a grade and will be gone in the off season unless they decide to resign for little money, and the Sixers can’t find anything better.

Playoff Prediction: Miami in a Sweep or at most the Sixers win one of their home games.

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