The beginning of the post-Larry Brown era wasn't seamless. President Billy King had to try on a few head coaches before he found the perfect fit. One 33-49 season and two departed coaches later, he found his man.
Jim O'Brien, without question, is the team's most important offseason acquisition. He quickly established a reputation as one of the league's top coaches before walking away from the Celtics last season. He'll help the Sixers re-establish a defensive presence and command the respect of Allen Iverson.
Iverson might be the only player who won't face a training camp battle for his starting job. With Eric Snow gone, and Willie Green and John Salmons capable of stepping in at the two, Iverson faces a probable return to the point. If O'Brien wants options, Kevin Ollie and Aaron McKie give him defense. McKie and Kyle Korver give him outside shooting.
At small forward, Glenn Robinson looks to rebound from an injury-marred campaign. Can the Big Dog regain his form as one of the game's best mid-range scorers? He'll be pushed by lottery pick Andre Iguodala, a superior athlete who has drawn comparisons to Scottie Pippen. Corliss Williamson will win minutes with low-post scoring.
Kenny Thomas and Samuel Dalembert have the inside track at the four and five spots. The 6-7 Thomas is undersized, but effective (13.6 ppg and 10.1 rpg). Dalembert was a revelation last season, averaging 12.3 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 4.43 blocks in April. They face a training camp battle from free agent Brian Skinner.
O'Brien has an extremely versatile roster, capable of scoring and stopping the opposition, and he has one of the game's best players in the prime of his career at 29. If you're looking for a dark horse to make noise in the East, look no further than Philadelphia.