The 2012-13 Sixers: Five observations
To view this site, you need to have Flash Player 9.0.115 or later installed. Click here to get the latest Flash player.
On Sunday, John Finger gave you his five storylines to watch during the 2012-13 Sixers preseason. Today, Dei Lynam shares her own five as the team prepares to tip off its exhibition schedule.
The Sixers decided to extend their stay at Saint Joseph’s University through Monday, when they will hold two closed practices, one in the morning and one in the evening. They will return to their own practice facility at PCOM on Tuesday in preparation for seven preseason games in 12 days, beginning with Thursday’s contest in Orlando.
After observing a week of training camp, five things have become obvious about the season that lies ahead.1. The Sixers will be an up tempo team
To some, that may sound crazy, given that the franchise went out and acquired an all-star center who has a powerful back-to-the-basket game. Andrew Bynum will get his touches, but the Sixers, like they have for the past couple years, will look to grab the ball off the defensive rim and run.
A year ago, they scored the eighth-most fast break points in the NBA, with 15.2 per game. Two years ago, they were third in the league with 17.4. Given that the Sixers are looking for three-point attempts in transition this season, expect their fast-break points to be the highest during coach Doug Collins' tenure.2. All eyes are on the center
Despite being sidelined with a bone bruise in his knee, Bynum was still the most-discussed player in the first week of practice.
Jrue Holiday had the best line when he was asked how difficult it would be to feed Bynum in the post, given the attention the seven-footer will garner.
“That’s easy,” Holiday said. “He is eight feet tall with a nine-foot wing span. All I have to do is throw the ball in the air.”3. The number of free-throw attempts should increase
Getting to the foul line was not easy for the Sixers last season; they attempted the fewest free throws in the NBA. On top of that, they lost their leading free throw shooter in Lou Williams, who averaged 4.6 shots at the line per game. There were only 22 players in the NBA who attempted more free throws than Williams.
The good news is that Bynum was one of those 22. He attempted 338 in all (5.6 per game). Add that Evan Turner went from averaging 1.7 free throws per game in the regular season to 3.7 in the postseason, and one should feel encouraged that "free" points should come easier than they have in the past.
“Evan is a below-the-foul-line player,” Collins said. “That is where his strength is offensively -- pushing the ball, getting to the foul line, pulling up, looking for shots. But he has also done a good job of making some really good passes to our bigs when he comes off screens and he has a good feel for where guys are, so I have been very happy with that.”4. There will be no shortage of chatter
The Sixers' communication and camaraderie received high marks from the coaching staff thus far. Considering the number of new faces and the loss of leadership from the departures of Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Elton Brand, that was a pleasant surprise.
The case may be that guys like Turner and Holiday deferred to their elders out of respect, and not that they weren’t capable of being strong leaders themselves.
Communication is a necessity. Camaraderie makes the process more enjoyable.5. The rotation is far from settled
Competition for minutes will be ongoing. The power forward spot and the small forward position are especially crowded.
Turner will start at small forward. Dorell Wright will back him up, but Thaddeus Young wants some time there as well.
At power forward it appears Spencer Hawes will start, while Lavoy Allen will play some four and Thaddeus Young, too.
There is no time for players to turn on the cruise control.E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org