How many wins will the 76ers have this season?
When most Sixers fans talk about this upcoming season, they talk in terms of loses. How many will the team have, how many will be blowouts, how many will we need to get that first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Even most of the analysts talk in terms of loses and how bad they figure the team will be.
Me? I prefer to talk in terms of how many wins the Sixers will have.
And I think it’s going to be more than most people are counting on.
Now don’t assume I’m delusional or have taken leave of my senses. I know the Sixers are in rebuilding mode and in no position to compete for a playoff spot, much less an NBA Championship. But I do think the team as it stands now is better than most people think they are.
I wrote before about how, if a few things fall the Sixers way, it could mean significantly more wins for the team this year. But even if that doesn’t happen (and it probably won’t) the Sixers 2013-14 roster has more going for it then they get credit for.
First, you have the trio of Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes all returning from last year’s team. They give the Sixers a big dose of both experience and leadership and all three figure to see heavy minutes on the hardwood. Hawes and Turner are both in contract years and Young no doubt feels he has something to prove to the new regime (specifically Sam Hinkie), so they will all be playing to win each and every night, not thinking of lottery picks or Andrew Wiggins.
Then you have a number of young players who have been letdowns in one way or another for the teams they last played for and are looking for a second chance. Darius Morris is trying to prove he can play on a daily basis after a disappointing year with the Los Angeles Lakers and Tony Wroten is another young player looking for redemption after a mediocre stint with the Grizzlies.
When you factor in the rookies like Michael Carter-Williams and Khalif Wyatt who will be trying to make a name for themselves, a new coach in Brett Brown and a group of players with a “nothing to lose” attitude and the 76ers could be a very dangerous group that could sneak up and surprise some of the better teams in the NBA.
Will they beat the Miami Heat? Um, no. How about the Chicago Bulls? Probably not. But the Boston Celtics or the Phoenix Suns? I would bet on the Sixers every time. I even think on the right night they could give the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Atlanta Hawks a run for their money.
That being said, I still think there’s a good chance the team will come in last in the Atlantic Division, unless the exodus from Boston by Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and coach Doc Rivers causes more disruption than it was originally thought it would and the Celtics simply fall apart this season.
So what’s the number? My gut tells me the 76ers will end up with 26 wins by the end of the 2013-14 season. Better than what most people are anticipating, but still not enough for the Sixers to be taken seriously again without the plan put in motion draft night by Sam Hinkie.
Let’s see what happens, shall we?