Sixers 2011-2012 Season Outlook and Prediction

Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand will look to lead the Sixers to a stellar 2011-2012 season.

So if you haven’t heard yet, basketball is back ladies and gentleman. This week preseason games begin around the NBA and the Sixers kick things off Friday against the Washington Wizards down in our nation’s capitol. With the abbreviated offseason and the hurried training camps it will be quite intriguing to see how teams start off the season. There are a number of franchises that have to go through a lot of changes just to field a roster. Other teams are frantically looking to acquire top-notch talent such as Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.

The Sixers have the luxury of being virtually the same team as they were last season. The team was able to seal up its top free agent, Thaddeus Young, to a new five-year deal worth $42 million. Young was an integral part of the team last season averaging 13 points and five rebounds off the bench while becoming known as one of the most stellar sixth men in the NBA. There was some reported interested in Young from other NBA teams but the Sixers insistence on bringing Young back coupled with his restricted free agent status all but assured his return to Philadelphia. One of the main things to watch will be how Doug Collins plan to utilize Young to get even more out of his game.

The Sixers will be lead by third year point guard Jrue Holiday, age 21. Holiday is now the unquestioned floor general for the Sixers going forward. He averaged 14 points and seven rebounds last season for the Sixers in his first full season as the starting point guard. He looks to be the first piece of the backcourt combination that the Sixers plan to use for years to come. The second part of that equation is second year shooting guard Evan Turner. After an up and down rookie season, Turner is poised to earn a starting spot in Collin’s rotation. There have been questions as to whether he and Andre Iguodala can start together and Turner has stated that he and Iguodala worked in the offseason on their chemistry. Turner also worked with famed Philadelphia University coach Herb Magee on his inconsistent jumper. Time will tell if all the work will pay off for Turner.

Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner could potentially be the Sixers starting frontcourt for years to come.

Other questions also exist like will Iguodala be a part of the Sixers future plans? Will Elton Brand be as productive as he was last season? What type of impact will Nikola Vucevic have in his rookie season? Can Temple product Lavoy Allen make the team? Should the team use the amnesty clause on Andres Nocioni $6 million contract? Will Jodie Meeks continue to provide a shooting spark? Will Lou Williams continue to thrive as a sixth man? 

All of these questions will be answered in due time. The results of these questions will culminate in the Sixers record at the end of this 66 game season. Here is a month-by-month look at the Sixers schedule to see where they could possibly finish this season.

December Prediction: 3-1

The Sixers season begins with five straight road games, four of which take place in December. The Sixers’ December opponents are Portland, Phoenix, Utah, and Golden State. Continuity will help the Sixers in these matchups. The Trailblazers will be without Brandon Roy who has been forced into retirement due to degenerative knee issues. This stretch for the Sixers should be a good one despite having to start on the road.

January Prediction: 12-5

When the calendar flips to 2012 the Sixers will still be away from home. They play January 4 in New Orleans against a team that could perhaps be without Chris Paul pending the trade scenarios surrounding the all-star point guard.

The next four matchups are against Detroit, Toronto, Indiana, and Sacramento. All of those matchups could indeed be winnable. Despite some favorable matchups during the month, the Sixers will also have to face Miami, New York and Orlando.

February Prediction: 8-7  

The Sixers should surge into February with a solid record and standing in the Eastern Conference as their early season schedule does not feature to many marquee matchups. February however should present some more challenges for Collins’ crew.

The team opens the month with Chicago followed by Miami, Atlanta, the Lakers, San Antonio and the Clippers. The month also ends with a matchup against Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Sixers will have to take advantage of the teams that they are clearly more talented than. To finish north of .500 during February, the team cannot afford to give any games away.

March Prediction: 7-9

March will be quite similar to February in terms of the strength of the Sixers’ opponents. The team will have to be on their toes and by this time in the season, fatigue will certainly play a factor. The team will have already taken on a number of back to backs and back to back to backs.

During this month, the Sixers will take on Boston twice, Chicago twice, New York twice and Miami.

April Prediction: 10-4

Expect a solid finish out of the Sixers in the month of April. Even though the month features matchups with Miami and Boston it also has games against Indiana (2), New Jersey (3), Toronto (2), Cleveland, Milwaukee and Detroit.

Drumroll Please…..

The Sixers overall 2011-2012 record: 40-26

This record is in every way a prediction however, it is certainly possible. The key will be the Sixers beating opponents that they are better than or as good as consistently. The NBA gave the Sixers a favorable schedule early in the season which should bode well for them as they shake off the lockout rust. The team also finishes with a favorable month of April.

Fatigue and rust will affect each team but a team like the Sixers which is returning every core player and most of their bench contributors should be able to gel quickly. The youth of the team should also help when it comes to playing on two and sometimes three nights in a row more often than usual. 40-26 would set the Sixers up nicely going into the playoffs and could land them somewhere around 4 or 5 in the Eastern Conference. This team is hungry to win and they will have a chance to strike with this shortened NBA season.

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