The 76ers were eliminated last night in an embarrassing loss to the Magic, losing their first round series 4 games to 2. The Sixers suffered a 25 point loss to the Magic who were without Dwight Howard and Courtney Lee.
The Sixers have yet to win a playoff series since 2003, and this is the 2nd straight season that the Sixers went up 2 games to 1 in their first round series, and then proceeded to lose in six games. The game was ugly, and pathetic. The absence of Dwight Howard did not mean a thing. The Sixers continued to struggle on offense, and once again could not even get to 90 points. The Magic were doing anything they wanted offensively. Rashard Lewis had a big game, and so did Rafer Alston. Even backup center Marcin Gortat put up bigger numbers than his counterpart, Samuel Dalembert. Thaddeus Young never got anything going this series, and really played poorly. The only two Sixers who were consistent in this series were Iguodala and Miller.
There really is no reason to rehash the game, as it was pathetic. The Magic didn’t even really play an impressive series, and still won easily. I won’t go into the fact that the Magic have a bunch of punks on their team, mostly in Howard and Turkoglu, and led by their coach, Stan Van Gundy, who the players will soon quit on.
The Sixers face a lot of off-season questions this summer. Tony DiLeo did a respectable job getting this team to the playoffs, but he really is not a head coach in this league, nor should he be the head coach of the Sixers next season. As for the team, there are many issues, and I’m not sure how many can actually be addressed. The Sixers start two players who flat out are not good enough to be starters in Willie Green and Samuel Dalembert. We also rely on Andre Iguodala to be our #1 option, which he should not be. Iguodala should be a #2 or 3 option, and a facilitator. Iguodala has also stated that he can’t play the SG position effectively, which unfortunately has meant that Thaddeus Young has had to play the PF position. Thaddeus Young is not a PF, and should be the small forward. The Sixers are locked into so much money with contracts to Elton Brand, Iguodala, and Dalembert, so they can’t do much in free agency anytime soon. Andre Miller is most likely gone, which will hurt the team in the near future, as Miller carried the Sixers offensively at times, which you always need from your point guard.
With the 17th pick in the draft, the Sixers should address one of two positions: Point Guard or Center. This year’s draft is heavy on point guards with Ricky Rubio, Brandon Jennings, Jonny Flynn, Stephen Curry, Eric Maynor, Tyreke Evans, Jeff Teague, Ty Lawson, Patrick Mills, and Jrue Holiday all expected to be taken in the first round. Someone like Eric Maynor should easily fall to 17. Even if the Sixers are able to resign Andre Miller, it will only be to a 3 year deal. The Sixers need to address the future of their point guard with a draft that is stacked at that position. Watching this season, Thaddeus Young has an unbelievable upside and will be the best player on the team in a few years. However, he does need to put the work in to improve, especially on the defensive end. Part of the reason Young has struggled on defense is because he is playing out of position at Power Forward.
With the Elton Brand experiment coming back next season, can Iguodala play the 2, so Thad does not have to be the 6th man? When Brand was in the lineup and Iggy played the 2, he looked awful. Andre needs to learn to play the 2 this off-season. He is athletic enough to handle guarding 2 guards around the league, and for the most part, should be able to physically dominate them on offense. If he starts at 2, we can get rid of Willie Green. Willie Green is alright and we rip him often. He has overcome a lot in this world to get where he is. He is just not a starter in the NBA. He is a very serviceable 6th or 7th man on a roster. Along with Green, Dalembert needs to leave this team. He is a freak of nature. He could easily be a 12 and 12 guy consistently in the NBA. The problem, he thinks he is better than he is and does not always try. He is a cancer and needs to be removed. Hopefully, the Sixers can resign Miller, but Miller has always made it known that he prefers playing on the West Coast. Miller is one of the most underrated players in the NBA, and because he is a veteran, he may sign with a team like the Lakers where he can win now. Marreese Speights has shown promise all season, and may be the starter in place of Sammy next year. This small line-up will be an athletic tough match-up for other teams. No matter what, the Sixers have a lot of tough decisions coming up this offseason.