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Sixers to Come out of the East?
By Derek Bodner
Just a month ago I thought this absurd, and this is coming from somebody living in Philadelphia. The Sixers were always fun to watch. Pat Croce brought an unrivaled enthusiasm to the team, which seemed to always constantly improve. But this year it was hard to get enthused. The star player, Allen Iverson, was almost shipped away for inferior talent, just to lose his attitude. They made practically no off-season moves, and the one significant move is out for the year (Craig “Speedy Claxton”) with an acl tear. This is the same team which got bounced from the second round of the playoffs the last two years.
Now I realize that may be a very positive thing. To say the east is weak is an understatement. With the loss of Mourning, there is no dominant team. The Sixers can match up with anybody in the East in the low post. Tyrone Hill, Theo Ratliff and George Lynch should be able to haul in their fair share of rebounds, and they now have, with the loss of Mourning, the best shot blocker in the league. If Theo Ratliff can do what he has continued to do each year he has been in the league and improve his scoring, and Tyrone Hill continue to cash in off of offensive rebound as a result of teams swarming Iverson when he drives, scoring from the Center/Power Forward position shouldn’t be a problem.
The Sixers bench should also
cause matchup problems with most teams. The acquisition of Vernon
Maxwell in my opinion was a very good pickup. Maxwell, Toni Kukoc
and Aaron McKie are all very capable three point shooters, and if Iverson
can learn to drive and kick-out, that will force teams to guard the perimeter.
1.) Theo Ratliff needs to provide some offensive in the big man depleted east, and continue to block shots to start the fast break.
2.) Allen Iverson needs to assume the leadership roll, and get everyone more involved. If he can learn to kick out to Maxwell, McKie and Kukoc, they can have a perimeter game that can not only score, but open up some room for the guys in the paint to crash the boards.
3.) Toni Kukoc needs to become more
assertive. He can’t just fade into the background as he did the last
thirty games last year, and needs to get his shots, and minutes.
Derek is a contributor. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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