The Philadelphia 76ers were somewhat of a surprise last season, winning 40 of their 82 games, which although unspectacular was better than expected.
In the offseason they made a huge signing, adding free agent power forward Elton Brand, a respected star who was coming off injury but has proven to be a force at his position.
The move seemed even better when considering the fact that Philly had a wide open hole at the four-spot.
Now, a month and a half into the 2008-09 season, the Sixers are still struggling to find their way. And their fans are starting to vocalize their frustration. The Philly Burbs (Tom Moore) reports:
The natives are growing a little restless. By the time Elton Brand missed a short jumper two-thirds of the way through the third quarter to make him 2-for-9 with the 76ers behind the Cavaliers by 18 points, the Wachovia Center fans’ boos and catcalls became louder. “Brand, you stink,” called out one. “Brand, do something,” said another. “Do something, (Maurice) Cheeks,” chimed in a third. The fans certainly didn’t think the Sixers, who were projected to win 45 to 50 games after signing Brand to an $82 million contract, would be 9-13 with five straight home losses. “Of course, they deserve to be restless,” Brand said. “They pay their hard-earned money and they expected a lot of us. We just need to step it up.”
Brand has played pretty well, averaging 16.2 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, though he’s shooting just 44.2%. The team’s struggles aren’t his fault, even if isn’t performing quite on the high level expected of him just yet. Samuel Dalembert, Elton’s partner in the starting big-man department, is scoring just 5.8 ppg, grabbing a somewhat respectable 7.9 rebounds, but not doing a whole lot else.
Andre Iguodala also started the season in pretty quiet fashion.
Philly also can’t make three-pointers. This has been a known problem, and it’s going to continue.
I expect them to improve, simply because on paper they should. Watch them over the next few weeks. If things still look disappointing, trades could be on the way.
–InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner