76ers Spark Philly’s Hoops Revival

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – I suppose the easy way of looking at the Philadelphia 76ers these days would be to scan the Eastern Conference standings and act all shocked and surprised that this crew is sitting in the No. 2 spot. (Seriously, check for yourself. They’re holding down the No. 2 spot.)

It feels like there might be something much more substantial going on with the Sixers than just early season good vibrations. Winning nine out of 10 games during any stretch of the season is something to talk about. And the Sixers remain just one of four teams –┬áSan Antonio, Chicago and Indiana are the others — yet to lose a home game this season. (Returning your top 11 players from a year ago does wonders in a season that could be defined, to an extent, by the compressed schedule.)

But if we lost our beloved game for five months so teams could build a sound foundation from the ground up (with solid drafting, shrewd free agent moves, wise spending and the flexibility to nurture your own nucleus), it’s not a stretch to say that the Sixers embody the new model for a franchise aiming to move up in the pecking order.

Sure, they have a couple of robust contracts (Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala) on their books, but everything else is more than manageable. They have drafted well (Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams, Evan Turner, Nikola Vucevic) the last few seasons and added the right pieces via trades (Spencer Hawes, Jodie Meeks, Andres Nocioni) and free agency (Tony Battie). And they have cohesion as a group — Williams, a reserve, leads them in scoring (16.2) — that has to be the envy of other franchises dreaming about chasing a playoff spot.

Bucks coach Scott Skiles got a close look at the Sixers Monday and described what they’re doing this season this way:

“What they have done really well this year is they have some guys that are very good with the ball,” Skiles said. “But when a guy is open, he gets the ball. And he gets it on time and on target. They are really playing unselfishly. They have guys that can do things with the ball, but they sacrifice and spread the ball around, and it makes them difficult to defend.”

I’ll admit I was skeptical of the Sixers this time a year ago, when it looked like they might have the makings of a team on the rise. Not even my main man Brent Barry of NBA TV could convince me that Doug Collins would take this team and turn them around the way he has. Brent was way ahead of the curve in identifying this franchise revival.

Things will get more interesting this week with games against the Nuggets (Wednesday), Hawks (Friday) and Heat (Saturday). Perhaps a more accurate evaluation of the Sixers will come when the dust settles.

But the secret already seems to have gotten out. They moved up to the fourth spot in this week’s NBA.com Power Rankings and if they handle some business this week and remain undefeated at home through Saturday morning, then the buzz around this team will only continue to build.

Iguodala is one of 20 finalists for an Olympic team berth, Holiday’s name needs to be included in any conversation about the best young point guards in the league and Williams should be a serious candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. And if they keep this up, Collins should be the frontrunner for Coach of the Year.

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45 Comments

  1. Collision of Souls says:

    LOL @ Turner Channel 12.

  2. Mr. E. Brown says:

    It is what it is….

    Many people write the Sixers off – despite their fantastic start – because they’re not one of the “sexy” teams in the NBA, without some crybaby superstar who demands 25-35% of the shot every night.

    I love this team. They fight hard EVERY night, they play team ball, the right way. And they got six-seven guys who’ll average double digits for the seaosn when it’s all said and done, and ANY one of them can get 20-25 on any given night. THAT’s why it’s so hard to beat them.

    Your 2011-12 Philadelphia 76ers, A.K.A. “Hustler’s Row”….starring: Captain IX, EB, Holiday Season, Sweet Lou, 21 Young Salute, Spencer Hawesome, Turner Channel 12, & the Jodiac Killer. Led “The Coach”, Coach Collins.

    Let’s go, Sixers!

  3. EKING says:

    elton most go either by trade r something try to get kenyon martin from denver he will help the 6ers alot more than brand

  4. Dakota says:

    I really like this team basketball. I know it probably won’t happen, but I really wish a team like Philly, Denver, Portland, or maybe even Utah could win the championship just to prove that you don’t need stars to win championships. That team basketball will beat out selfish superstars that only want to play for the major market teams. Good job Philly, wish the best of luck to you.

  5. Da Wolf says:

    Same thing with Portland. They don’t have definite superstar, yet they are still doing quite well (okay, they have lost 5 straight but still, they are a top 10 team). Philly, Denver and Portland are legit teams this year and I am glad to see they are all doing well. Don’t forget about Indiana and Utah as well. The division with the Thunder, Jazz, Nuggets, and Trail Blazers are off to a hot start.

  6. Blown away! If Philly keep it up…it will leave alotta people scratchin their heads!!!!

  7. SikWitIT says:

    Philly has got some good young players, but they also need one or two great players for this team to go anywhere in the playoffs. Brand is a shadow of his former self and Iggy is underachieving if you ask me. This season will probably end up just like last for them.

  8. Roy says:

    This team is definitely showing it’s cohesiveness this season. With no player really shining for an All-Star spot or All-NBA team spot but the entire squad pitching in which is quite pleasing to see in a league with stars usually dominating. Most of the core players are still young so it’s only expected that this lack of experience catches up to them when they start to play the older teams (Boston, Dallas, L.A.) but they’re youth and athleticism will help negate that hopefully. They will make the playoffs indefefinitely in a weak eastern conference, but will be a first round exit in my eyes due to inexperience and lack of a real go-to-guy.

  9. MVP says:

    In all honesty, the reason why the sixers haven’t been getting any attention is because the teams the have been playing against. The only notable teams they have played against are portland, new york and maybe utah…. And they lost against those teams. Every other team is either mediocre or worse. The season is still young. 12 games into the season. That’s about a sixth of the way into the season so far. There’s still plenty of games left. Philly is a good team with solid young players but i don’t see them being a higher seed than 6. Philly has gotten off to a strong start, but its not about how you start, its about how you finish. And i don’t think they will be able to keep up this pace once they start playing against better teams.

  10. Panocha4life says:

    Sixers are doing great gotta love them, congrats to doug collins he has turned this franchise around

  11. Nuno says:

    I love this Philly team and Denver! Just great, deep, unselfish teams without a superstar that play fantastic basketball!

  12. Alfred Keefer says:

    A team like the 76er’s gives me hope that being a “basketball elite team” isn’t going to be just about how many superstars can you put together on a team. It’s fun to watch unselfish team oriented basketball.

  13. sunsman says:

    Yes Philly’s schedule has been light, but team ball will always thrive when the going is good. The players get excited and play even better when they are on a roll…. what happens if/when they lose a couple in a row and then see if the bubble bursts.

    Never understand why people following the NBA only believe that a team with a top 10 player can win in the post season, a great team offence and defence scheme will get wins in basketball at any level – a great coach will always have success with a talented team which has player depth – see Portland and Denver last few years (Yes those teams didn’t win a championship, but they still had some level of success in the playoffs, imaging where Portland would be if not for injuries)

  14. Mo says:

    if you look at the teams they already played against you should notice they lost all their games on the road against good teams
    and a lot of their wins so far are againt minus .50 teams
    at this point i wouldn’t overestimate it
    but see them playing is really fun very well offensive play and deffensive effort
    the deep roster should help them get to the playoffs
    and then it counts time for the stars most time and roster not in prior
    thats why i’am still not so optimistic about getting to the CF for example

  15. SteveM says:

    Doug Collins is an amazing coach, hopefully he will stay there long enough to see this great potential turn into a genuine Eastern Conference threat. Many others teams would kill to have a cool, calm mind guiding their team like Collins does night in night out!

  16. JR says:

    imo, the Sixers need a premier scorer to be a real playoff threat. it’s good that they’re distributing the ball more, but when it comes to the playoffs, that stradegy won’t cut it. you will have to put the ball in the key guy’s hand (either Iguodala or Lou Williams) and let them produce. keep up with the god work, and please tighten up your defense! definately they’ll make the playoffs, but they won’t make it out of the first round for another year or two.

    (Suggested trade: Dorrel Wright for Andres Nocioni & 2014 1st Round Draft Pick)

  17. Efosa says:

    As a knicks fan, you just have no choice but to respect the work Philly has put in… Just hope my knicks fix their problems.

  18. KaroLT says:

    76ers define team basketball… Well done coach Collins, you got the guys buying into your system…. COY

  19. Collision of Souls says:

    Many of you are saying we are *ONLY* 12-15 games in. Really? 12 games in is quite a ways in considering the compact schedule. This is all good for the Sixers because they are very young to endure the grueling pace, there will be no ego trips and Collins already has won these guys support. These guys are playing for him big-time! To underestimate their 4 game lead, their defense which is not allowing 100 points and an offense which is potent, well, you are making a big mistake if you don’t see the threat these guys are in the Eastern Conference. We’ll all see just how good this defense is after Denver, Atlanta and Miami. This is going to be fun.

  20. Celticsrck says:

    not championship yet…bit too young.but i agree they are a very good team and may see a championship in a few years

  21. Too Early says:

    Still early in the season. We are only about 12-15 games in.
    Are they doing well? Yes they are. Will they make the playoffs? Probably. Championship? Lets wait until we see the playoffs first.

  22. NBAFAN36 says:

    sixers doing well if they make the playoffs anything can happen i would be afraid to draw the sixers in the first with good young talent this team is on the rise they could give the magic celtics and knicka a run for their money not sure about the heat though or even the bulls.

  23. HM says:

    Great start for Sixers, but I hope comes more. I wish you luck as a fanatical supporter Sixers.

    GO SIXERS GO !

  24. 76ers are pretenders, it will come down to heat vs thunder in the finals and the heat taking the o brien trophy. that is all that mattera.

  25. Sir Charles Barkley says:

    76ers finish 5th in the east.
    looks like philly vs atl in the 1st round. should go to 7 games.

  26. js says:

    no surprise what doug collins has been able to do. I miss listening to him announce games, because you could tell he was never just reading from some script (ala chris collingsworth in the NFL). he would go off on tangents explaining the intricacies of the game at the NBA level just because he was so knowledgeable of the sport. The best part is that aside from some bench additions, this is the same roster that was pretty much a bottom 10 team at best. It really goes to show that regardless of how big individual superstars get, coaching is so crucial to success. george karl and the nuggets are another example. he has whoever is on that team play 100% every night

  27. Wait a Minute says:

    76ers are playing very well but their schedule has been SUPER light.

  28. delano d. says:

    so far the sixers did play only against 12 (played twice against washington, the worst tam of the league) of 29 possible teams; and there is not a single title contender among them (the best team was probably indiana) so calm down folks.. this team will be 7th at best after the regular season….

  29. Chosen One says:

    Glad to see the 76ers doing well while being under the radar

  30. wackies25 says:

    sixers who? anyways let’s wait and see until they meet best in the west and beast of the east

  31. pingocho says:

    PUT NOCIONI, COLLINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

  32. Lmao.. says:

    There we go. This is a team that Philly can get behind, a team with hard-working guys who don’t want to take up the spotlight. Not like the Eagles with their handful of divas who don’t give a crap about winning. Keep it up, Sixers

  33. Dan says:

    Nope the East is pretty strong, Heat, Bulls, Magic, Hawks are better and possibly Celtics if they play better…
    Same goes with West but tougher; Thunder, Clippers, Lakers, Spurs, Denver, Portland and Dallas.

  34. don says:

    They’re like my blazers out west, everyone overlooking their talent at the beginning of the season. And their success shouldn’t be a surprise.

  35. david says:

    great article. great to see the sixers getting some love. they deserve it, and are a very good team that deserves attention and should not be taken lightly.

  36. E. Lee says:

    Good regular season team. Not a playoff threat. But its great for their fans to have a team playing well.

  37. Hussein says:

    76ers=deepest team in the east.

    • rayray says:

      So we suddenly forgot about Chicago? You know what happened when Derrick Rose, CJ Watson, and Rip Hamilton (3 of their top 4 guards) didn’t play in a game? 3rd stringer 5-11 Lucas stepped up for 25-8-8. Add Taj and Asik to that, who is capable of outplaying most starting big men in the league. Then Korver, we all know his job.

  38. Rick Weaver says:

    I just don’t understand why they are not getting any real national coverage. They are playing extremely well for such a young team and Doug Collins is doing a supurb job with his excellent coaching. TNT should be pounding at their doors for some airtime !

  39. BelizboyBoy says:

    Not sure what the big deal is, it’s not like they have a bad team. A bigger shock is Utah at number five so far (was number 3 at one point).

    • deron says:

      I agree; they put up a good fight vs the Heat last year and brought everybody back. And for a team this young, getting one year older usually means a big improvement during the next season. They may get to the second round this year if Boston and New York don’t fix their problems, age and lack of cohesiveness, respectivley.

  40. theheadrush says:

    Great post. It’s great to see the Sixers getting national recognition. The winning streak would be 10 if it wasn’t for a tough back-to-back-to-back home/away schedule.

  41. deron says:

    The Sixers are off to a historic start; I hope they can keep it up. This team doesn’t have any top ten players, but it has a lot of good players who know their role, and a veteran coach that is perfect for the team. They may make it to the second round this year and hopefully keeping getting better as the younger players continue to mature. The East is not as strong as I thought it would be; the Heat, Bulls, Knicks, and maybe Atlanta are the teams that are better.

    http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2012/01/nba-sixers-off-to-best-home-start-in.html