After trading for Andrew Bynum, the Philadelphia 76ers were able to complete their ascent to the top tier of the Eastern Conference. Bynum has been a rock for the 76ers offensively and defensively, with hopes they can build around him to create a contender for the foreseeable future.
Oh wait…that’s not how it happened?
Between ridiculous hairstyles and bowling alley injuries, the Andrew Bynum saga in Philadelphia has been nothing short of a running punchline the past few months. Andre Iguodala is now in Denver, which has left Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes to form the core of a team fighting for a playoff spot in the packed Eastern Conference.
Holiday, however, is questionable for tonight’s game. Should he not go, look for Nick Young (not a typo) to see time running point. If this is the case, there is no reason Jeff Teague shouldn’t be aggressive offensively getting to the rim and defensively trying to swipe lazy passes or pickpocket sloppy dribbling.
Evan Turner, the #2 overall pick in 2010, has been inconsistent since coming into the league, although he seems to have improved in every year, according to his rising PER. Nick Young, Dorell Wright, and even former Magic player Jason Richardson are streaky shooters, especially beyond the arc, that have been known to burn the Hawks in the past.
One thing that jumps out about Philadelphia is despite playing Turner, a 6’7” shooting guard, at the backup point guard spot, as well as Young in the case of a Jrue Holiday injury, that they hardly ever turn the ball over, 11.9 turnovers per 100 possession for second best in the league. For a Hawks team that relies on turnovers to generate defensive stops, third most on a per possession basis, the steady handed 76ers will prove a difficult matchup. In many other areas, however, the 76ers are extremely mediocre.
Like most nights, the key to an Atlanta win is to challenge the opponent from the inside out. Kwame Brown, Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen are not known as the best low post defenders, especially when asked to move laterally, so Al Horford and Josh Smith should have their way in the paint tonight.
Tipoff is after 7:30 PM in Philadelphia and the game can be seen in the Atlanta area on FOX SportSouth.