Saturday, September 03, 2005

Offseason Overview: Philadelphia 76ers

The 76ers spent a whole lot of money to keep a 43-39 team in tact. Possible off-season squabbling between AI and Chris Webber never materialized, but you know the city of Philly loves its internal feuds, and this one seems bound to happen. Aaaron McKie and Willie Greene won't be around, which means AI might actually play 48 mpg this season.

The Stud: Allen Iverson, PG
Well that sure went better than anyone could have expected. Shifting to the point, AI not only set a career-high with 8.0 apg (fifth in the league), but he averaged 30.7 ppg (highest in three seasons), had his best shooting year in seven seasons, and finished second in the league in steals. He missed seven games, which is on the good side of what you’d expect from him, but he never takes a game or two to get back into the swing of things. If he’s playing, he will put up his numbers. He was fifth on the Player Rater last year, but it might be tough to expect him to sustain all the gains he made last year and stay as healthy. Still a super-solid second round pick.

The Support: Andre Igoudala, GF
Ladies and gentlemen (er, more likely just gentlemen), Shawn Marion-lite. Don’t let that 9.0 ppg scare you. That number will only go up and it didn’t prevent him from finishing 42nd on the Player Rater. He averaged 1.7 spg in just 32.8 mpg, and should perennially among the league leaders for years to come. Igoudala isn’t likely to start averaging 20 ppg any time soon, but a simple increase in minutes from 33 to 38, plus the normal gains made in his second year could be enough to make him a Top 25 player.

The Supporting Support: Samuel Dalembert, C
Those who drafted Dalembert early last year based on his monster April 2004 probably got frustrated and traded or released him and weren’t able to enjoy his solid second half. His final numbers from last year are almost identical to those from the year before – save a disturbing drop in blocks from 2.3 to 1.7 – so it doesn’t look like much progress was made, but after an impressive performance in the playoffs and a huge, huge, huge contract, he seems to be settling in. It’s quite possible he’ll be overrated again, but the fact that he could lead the league in blocks gives him plenty of value.

The Sleeper: Stephen Hunter, FC
Who’s to say that Hunter couldn’t put up the numbers Dalembert can? Check out their 40-minute averages from last year:
Dalembert – 13.2/12.1/0.8, 2.7 blocks on 52% shooting
Hunter – 13.3/8.7/0.5, 3.9 blocks on 61% shooting
61% shooting?! OK, he’s unlikely to do that again, but should Dalembert get injured or struggle out of the gate again, Hunter could be a solid contributor.

The Slacker: Chris Webber, PF
Oh, like you expected anyone else. You can't help a team if you aren't playing. That was -- and still is -- the big knock on Webber, but his performance in 21 gamse with the Sixers gave little indication he'd be able to help even when playing. His 15.6/7.9/3.1 on 39% shooting was just pathetic. It should be better -- perhaps even considerably better -- but he's just a mid-rounder now.

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