Scouting Report: Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia shook up its roster this summer in order to acquire a legitimate star. That star is Andrew Bynum, and he hasn’t played a minute this season. Bynum remains on the sideline with a bone bruise in his right knee.
Bynum’s absence means that Jrue Holiday is the man on this Sixers team. Fortunately for Philadelphia, Holiday is playing like the man so far this season.
Holiday is putting up some All-Star-type numbers through four games, with averages of 18.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 9.5 APG. He’s shooting lights-out from downtown, too, where he has hit 44.4 percent of his 3-pointers. Holiday has turned himself into one of the best point guards in the league, and he’ll be a lot to handle for Rajon Rondo.
Philly’s health is not very good, and it’s particularly bad at the center position. Bynum is out indefinitely with his “bone bruise” and the team’s backup center, Kwame Brown, is also doubtful with a left calf strain (we’re considering Spencer Hawes as more of a power forward this season). Those injuries leave the Sixers with Hawes and Lavoy Allen to handle the center duties, and that was certainly not Philly's plan coming into the season.
Bynum won’t be in the starting lineup and it's possible that Jason Richardson, the starting shooting guard, will be missing from the lineup as well. He is listed as doubtful with a left ankle sprain and hasn’t played since he suffered the injury on Sunday.
Ever since Doug Collins arrived in Philadelphia this team has been known for its defense and balanced offense. This year is no different.
The Sixers rank third in the league in opponent scoring, as they’ve limited their opposition to just 86.8 PPG through four contests. Opponents are also only shooting 42.1 percent against Philly this season.
On offense, the balance remains. Holiday is the top scorer with 18.0 PPG, but four other players also average at least 9.3 PPG. That’s not as balanced as the Sixers have been in the past, but it’s pretty close.
Interestingly, it’s pretty similar to the Celtics right now. Both teams sit at 2-2 on the season and are coming off of victories in which they didn’t play particularly well.
There is, however, one big difference between the current pulses of these teams: the Celtics are healthy and the Sixers are not. Philadelphia is starting each game at a disadvantage while two of its starters recover from injuries. The Sixers’ depth has taken quite a hit early on this season and that makes wins much more difficult to grab.
Their Achilles’ Heel
This team has been an up-and-comer over the past couple of seasons. In other words, its Achilles’ heel has been youth. But after two consecutive trips to the playoffs and having pushed the C’s to a game seven last year, that issue no longer holds much credence.
Philadelphia’s main problem nowadays is scoring the basketball. Yes, the Sixers have several guys who can put up a decent scoring game, but only one of them, Holiday, is equipped to really scorch the nets. They currently rank last in the league – yes, last! – in both scoring (83.4 PPG) and field goal percentage (38.3 percent). That, my friends, is bad. It’s difficult to win games when you’re the worst offensive team in the league.