STATE OF THE FRANCHISE
Coming off their most successful season since 2002-03 when Allen Iverson led the team, the 76ers decided that middling success was not enough. Despite winning their first playoff series in nine years by beating the Derrick Rose-less Bulls, the 76ers made major changes to the roster including trading the teamís best player Andre Iguodala for Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson as part of the deal that netted the Lakers Dwight Howard. The team also lost its top scorer from last season when Lou Williams (14.9 points) left as a free agent for Atlanta. In addition, Elton Brand went to Dallas as a free agent.
The franchise is rolling the dice with Bynum, the oft-injured, uber-talented center, who spent the last seven years with the Lakers. The key question to the season may be how Bynum and coach Doug Collins, who is known for his intensity, are able to get along. It should also be noted that Collins has never coached a team for more than four years and this is his third year in Philadelphia. Evan Turner may be ready for a prime time role after he served as Iguodalaís understudy for the last two years.
PLAYING TIME DISTRIBUTION
The 76er rotation should be set at three positions with Bynum at center, Turner at small forward, and Jrue Holiday at point guard. The 2011-12 season was the first time in Bynumís career that he did not miss at least 17 games in since the 2006-07 season (his second year in the league). As long as the center stays healthy, he should see the majority of minutes at the pivot. If he gets hurt, Philadelphia has Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown to move to the middle. Brown, the top pick of 2001 draft, has become a second- or third-string center.
For the second straight season, Holiday played at least 33 minutes per game. With Williams in Atlanta, the fourth-year pro may see a slight uptick in minutes. Holiday will be backed up by Royal Ivey, who is the Kwame Brown of point guards. Rookie Maalik Wayns brings a scorerís mentality to the point guard position and could take minutes away from Ivey.
Turner should get the bulk of Iguodalaís minutes and fantasy owners could believe that one reason for the Bynum trade was that the teamís brain trust believes in the Ohio State alum. He should see his minutes bumped up into the 30s, while Thaddeus Young and Dorell Wright fight for the scraps. If Collins goes with a small lineup, Young and Wright could see minutes with Turner.
Richardson will start at shooting guard, but he will cede time to Nick Young, who the 76ers signed as a free agent. Richardson averaged 29.5 minutes last season with the Magic, but he will likely plays fewer minutes as a Sixer. Young will also see less than his 28 minutes from 2011-12, so both players may have a dip in value.
Hawes should start in the frontcourt next to Bynum. Hawes started at center in 2011-12, but his perimeter game should make a natural transition to the power forward slot. The Washington alum might see a slight bump from his nearly 25 minutes per game. Lavoy Allen and rookie Arnett Moultrie will back up Hawes. Allen started 15 games in the strike-shortened season and may get enough minutes to be a bench piece in deeper leagues.
Andrew Bynum: Bynum is the biggest wild card of the Philadelphia season, but he may also be the biggest wild card of the fantasy basketball season. With the Lakers, he was never more than the third option, but he had a fantastic season with 18.7 points on 55.8 percent from the field and 11.8 rebounds. The 76ers will ask for even more and Bynum could live up to his promise in the relatively small Eastern Conference. The questions are whether Bynum and Collins can coexist, and whether Bynum will be able to stay healthy. On the second front, Bynum had a minor surgical procedure on his knee in early September. Bynum is just 24 years old, so maybe the best is yet to come.
Kwame Brown: Brown has been in the league for 11 years and is still partly living off the fact that he was the top pick of the 2001 draft. Because of his size and athleticism, he can provide some low post defense. He has not developed much as a basketball player and will only play significant minutes if the 76er season goes all wrong.
Evan Turner: It took Turner a season at Ohio State to establish himself as a player, so maybe he is following the same trend as a pro. In his final two years as a Buckeye, Turner was a transcendent player who did everything for the team. Now that Iguodala is in Denver, Turner gets his turn in the limelight. After starting just 34 games in his first two years, Turner will be needed to do much more. He showed some evidence of scoring potential with four straight games of 16 or more points in March. He also had six games of 20-point scoring in his second season. If Turner fulfills his promise, he will provide points, rebounds, and assists that are above average for a forward.
Spencer Hawes: Hawes opened some eyes by providing four double-doubles in his first six games of the 2011-12 season. He also scored a combined 43 points in two home wins in the postseason series against Chicago. Hawes missed nearly two months of the abbreviated season with an Achilles injury, but he should be ready to go for the new season and is slated to start at power forward next to Bynum.
Thaddeus Young:Young has spent the last two seasons as a productive bench scorer for the 76ers. There is little reason to think that role will change in 2012-13. For fantasy purposes, the six-year veteran does not provide anything above average beyond field goal percentage. He averaged 12.8 points and 5.2 rebounds last season while hitting 50.7 percent of his shots.
Dorrell Wright: Wright was a disappointment in his last year as a Warrior in 2011-12. After averaging 16.4 points in 2010-11, Wright fell off to 10.3 points despite continuing to be a starter. Heíll need to forge a role off the 76er bench as a wing scorer. Itís unlikely Wright will be fantasy roster worthy in 10- and 12-team leagues.
Lavoy Allen: Allen is that rare hometown hero as a second round pick who had a reasonably productive rookie season. He is not a fancy player, but if he gets playing time he will get rebounds and score a modicum of points in the low post.
Arnett Moultrie: Moultrie is a bouncy 6-11 forward who was traded to Philadelphia from Miami on draft night. He suffered an ankle injury in a predraft workout and did not play in summer league. The Mississippi State alum is unlikely to make have much of an effect on 2012-13.
Jrue Holiday: While Bynum and Turner may be the most important players for the franchise, Holiday has the chance to have a nice bounce back. With Williams gone, Holiday will get the majority of the minutes and should lead the team in assists, unless Turner is a point forward to take advantage of his passing skills. Throughout his career, Holiday has been a reliable outside shooter (37.7 percent on threes). At the very least, Holiday should be a roster-able point guard.
Jason Richardson: After spending the first six years of his career with the Warriors, Richardson joins his fourth franchise in the last five years. The 31-year-old Michigan State alum is coming off his least productive season. He averaged just 11.6 points and 1.9 threes with the Magic. His minutes are unlikely to bump back into the 30s, so fantasy owners should go into the season with reduced expectations.
Nick Young: In the past two years, Young showed that he could be a good scorer on a team that did not win many games. With the Wizards, he averaged nearly 17 points, but saw his minutes slashed when he was traded to the Clippers. Like Thaddeus Young, Nick will be asked to provide some bench scoring, but he is unlikely to provide enough to be a fantasy factor.
Royal Ivey: Ivey has spent eight years in the league and has not started a game since 2007-08 when he was with Milwaukee. He spent the last two years as a seldom-used third stringer with the Thunder. He played with the 76ers from 2008-2010, but will have minimal fantasy impact.
Maalik Wayns: Like Allen, Wayns is another Big 5 player who has stayed home. The undrafted free agent played on the Orlando Magicís Summer League team and averaged 11.7 points, 5.7 assists, and 2.3 steals. Wayns was a shoot-first guard at Villanova, but he could be a better backup point guard than Ivey.
Evan Turner: If Turner is allowed to play the role that he did in his collegiate Player of the Year season at Ohio State, he could blossom into one of the best fantasy values of the new season. In previous coaching stops, Doug Collins has shown that he was willing to allow players like Scottie Pippen and Grant Hill to handle the ball. Is Turner in their class? Perhaps not, but if he is allowed to initiate the offense, he could provide the type of numbers (especially in assists) to make him a great pick up.
Andrew Bynum: While Bynum is in a contract year, there are just too many questions about his attitude and his injury history to make him someone to rely on. It was nearly miraculous that the seven-footer was able to make it through the compressed season unscathed. From 2007 to 2011, Bynum missed 124 games so there is more evidence that he will miss a number of games. Collins has also never coached a dominant low post presence. Bynum can also be a bit goofy, which will likely wear on Collins. Bynum has a very high ceiling, but the floor might be jarringly low.