The Philadelphia 76ers open their season tonight at the Wells Fargo Center against the Denver Nuggets.
Last season, the team overachieved under a new ownership group led by Co-Founder of Apollo Global Management Joshua Harris. Even though the season was shortened due to the lockout and didn’t start until January the Sixers got off to their best start since the 2000-01 season.
As many avid fans know, the 2000-01 season was the last season Philadelphia made it to the NBA Finals. Last season they managed to sneak into the playoffs as the eighth seed and went up against the Derrick Rose led Chicago Bulls. The Bulls finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA and nobody thought that the eighth seeded Sixers would stand a chance. When Rose went down in game one things quickly shifted in the Sixers favor and they managed to win the series 4-2 which was their first series since win 2003.
In the second round the Sixers faced their division rival Boston Celtics and added another chapter to their historic rivalry. The Sixers would eventually fall to Celtics in game seven, but it was a close series and NBA followers got to see the resilient team in the national spotlight.
Without the likes of Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala the Sixers return as a brand new team in 2012. Williams has served as instant offense off the bench since he came into the league in 2005 and was the Sixers leading scorer last year at 14.9 points per game. He also finished second in Sixth Man of the Year voting last season.
Andre Iguodala has served as the face of the Sixers franchise ever since Allen Iverson was traded and was by far the teams’ best player during his time in Philly. A lot of fans didn’t think he deserved the six-year 80 million dollar contract he signed but like it or not many players lack the versatility Iggy has.
The biggest acquisition the Sixers made over the off-season was Andrew Bynum the seven-foot tall; New Jersey native. Many think Bynum is the second best center in the league next to Dwight Howard. The Sixers have lacked a legitimate big man since the Dikembe Mutombo days and a post presence is something they have needed for years.
A few other new additions to the squad are Nick Young, Dorrell Wright, and Jason Richardson. All three are reliable shooters from behind the arc and will add a new dimension to the Sixers game that they haven’t had before.
With Jrue Holiday and Even Turner now leading the backcourt this could be a big year for the Sixers. Being that the team has a lot of new faces it will probably take a while for everyone to get on the same page but once it happens the Sixers could be the Heat’s biggest competition for the Eastern Conference title.
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