Last year, the boys grew up in front of all of us. A young, scrappy team almost built like a college roster nickled and dimed their way into the playoffs behind Doug Collins. Yes, they lucked out a bit by Derrick Rose going down with his ACL injury, but pulled together TOUGH wins in the playoffs to advance to the 2nd round for the first time in almost 10 years. Then they took Boston to the brink, coming up on the short-end of a hard-fought series in Game 7.
So, here we go. New year, new changes. Andre Igodala has been moved to Denver in the blockbuster trade that has brought Andrew Bynum to Philly, which changes the whole dynamic. Now, they have that "superstar" player everyone said was lacking and was the reason they weren't a "sexy" team like Miami, OK City, or the Lakers.
In addition to getting Bynum, Philly also snatched up Jason Richardson in that deal, who's past his prime but certainly not done, Nick Young from the Clippers who should be the replacement to Lou Williams and even Darrell Wright, who should prove to be a reliable piece to the frontcourt bench.
The core of this team - Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Thad Young, Spencer Hawes, and LaVoy Allen - will tell the story of the Sixer season. I'm wondering how that Top 5 D will function now that Iggy's gone, since he was the leader of the defense and arguably the best on-ball defender in the league. How will they all mesh together with Bynum.
Honestly, I got them winning 52-55 games and challenging Boston for the Atlantic divison title, maybe snatching a 2-4 seed. They've had a very impressive preseason even without Bynum. So, we'll see.