PLAYERS: F Kyle Korver, F Rodney Carney, G Louis Williams, G Kevin Ollie, C
Calvin Booth* *New acquisition
(10th in East) Points scored: 94.9 (26th in NBA) Points allowed: 98.0 (11th)
Coach: Maurice Cheeks (third season with 76ers)
five-week stretch this off-season, the Atlantic Division resembled the floor of
the New York Stock Exchange. Wheeling and dealing at a frenetic pace, the
Celtics (acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen), Knicks ( Zach Randolph), Nets
( Jamaal Magloire, re-signing Vince Carter) and Raptors ( Jason Kapono) drove up
the value of their rosters. There wasn't much bidding by the 76ers, however,
whose big summer pickup was 6' 8" forward Reggie Evans--last seen bolted to
the Nuggets' bench in the first round of the playoffs.
first season since 1996-97 without Allen Iverson, the 76ers have one of the
league's youngest rosters (average NBA experience: 3.3 years), a group that
does not have an All-Star Game appearance among them. "We're going to have
to teach, teach and teach some more," says coach Maurice Cheeks.
Yet time isn't on
the coach's side; he's in the final year of his three-year contract. Making
Cheeks's job even more complicated is center Samuel Dalembert's recovery from a
stress fracture in his right foot. (He is expected to be in the starting lineup
for the Oct.�31 opener but might not be at full strength.)
Any glimmer of
hope in Philly is based on how well the team played after trading Iverson to
Denver in December and jettisoning Chris Webber four weeks later. Those moves
cleared the way for the emergence of another AI, fourth-year guard Andre
Iguodala. Point guard Andre Miller, acquired from the Nuggets in the Iverson
trade, is a stabilizing influence, and Evans is a rebounding machine (an
NBA-best 19.7 rebounds per 48 minutes). "Our veterans can play," says
Cheeks. "They are hardworking guys who are also very intelligent."
Still, it will
take a superlative effort from them all for Philly to avoid spending the season
at the bottom of the division.
team's scout sizes up the 76ers