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The Eagles are in a tailspin. 
 
The Flyers might not be playing for a long time.

The Phillies need to regroup after a disappointing 2012.

That leaves our own Philadelphia 76ers as the saving grace for our town going into the winter.

Sixers brass knew following their loss to the much more experienced Celtics in Game 7 of last year’s Eastern Conference Semi-Finals that the team most likely went as far as they could with the way their roster was constructed.

As a result, the team got bigger and acquired better shooters. The biggest trade of the NBA off-season involved the Sixers acquiring center Andrew Bynum from the Lakers in a three-team trade which saw Andre Iguodala head to the Nuggets.

However, Bynum’sJrue Holiday Photo AFP Getty Images, Drew Hallowell recurring knee issues have once again reared their ugly head. This could be a major issue for the Sixers this season. Bynum just turned 25, and the fact that he is already injured prior to even playing a game for the team has “Jeff Ruland” written all over it. NBA journeyman Kwame Brown will most likely get more minutes in Bynum’s absence, which is never a good thing. Without Bynum in the middle, the injury prone Spencer Hawes’ production suffered during the preseason.

However, expect Doug Collins to go with Thaddeus Young at power forward and second year player Lavoy Allen in the middle for the time being. Allen really made a name for himself with his swarming defense against Kevin Garnett last May. Let’s hope he can continue this type of play during the season.

As far as shooters are concerned, Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright and Nick Young are all nice additions to the squad and will offer more consistency with the Sixers’ perimeter game than Iguodala and Lou Williams did last year for the team. Better outside shooting will be pivotal for this team if Bynum returns and is healthy. With Iguodala’s departure, this frees up a starting spot for Evan Turner, who needs to be more consistent while fulfilling expectations going into his third season. Fourth year guard Jrue Holiday continues to make strides each season and will be expected to create opportunities for the new-look backcourt as well as Bynum.


What could go right:Andrew Bynum photo: Bryan Anderson/AP

Bynum is a force, the shooters shoot, the defenders defend, and all goes well in Sixerville!

Holiday takes his place among some fo the NBA’s top guards.

Turner comes into his own.

 

What could go wrong:

Bynum is more off the court than on the court during the season. Even though Bynum is eligible for free agency after the season, the Sixers were still depending on him to be the team’s top gun this year.

Even when healthy, Bynum underachieves because he doesn’t have teammates named Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest and Pau Gasol.

Holiday and Turner fail to elevate their game.

The Sixers’ defense take a step back. Could Iguodala shoot? No, but he is one of the league’s premier defenders.

It’s a tough task, but if all goes well, the Sixers might have what it takes to continue the momentum they established last season, and make another deep playoff run into May and possibly beyond.

It all starts Wednesday!

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Jrue Holiday Photo AFP Getty Images, Drew Hallowell

Andrew Bynum photo: Bryan Anderson/AP