By David Mohimani –
After the longest lockout in a decade nobody knew what to expect from this NBA season. Something nobody expected was the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers leading the Atlantic Division.
“I was not really expecting this but it’s pretty cool to see our local team finally do well again.” said senior Ian Toomey.
Under second-year head coach Doug Collins the Sixers are boasting an impressive 12-5 record. The Sixers have one of the most balanced scoring attacks in the league – they have seven players averaging double figures lead by their sixth man Lou Williams who is averaging a team high 15.4 points per game(ppg).
The Sixers well-rounded offense has them ranked third in the league with 99.9ppg.
Philly has also been stifling on the defensive end allowing only 88.8ppg which puts them second in the league. Their defense is lead by one of the most stingy and versatile defenders in the NBA, Andre Igoudala who is averaging two steals per game.
“I’m very excited,” said life-long Sixer fan and Penn Manor senior basketball player Landon Alecxih ” I want to get back to 2000,” referencing the Sixers magical run to the NBA finals.
That year they were led by league MVP Allen Iverson when the Sixers saw their championship dreams extinguished by the Lakers, the second of three straight titles for Los Angeles.
Since then, the Sixers have only advanced past the first round of the playoffs one time. They no longer have a star player like Iverson and have had a plethora of coaches over the last decade.
After all the turmoil and inconsistency they have had at the coaching position it seems they have finally found a good fit with coach Collins.
“Collins man, its coaching. Cheeks( former coach) was garbage same with O’brien(former coach). Finally we got a coach and now we are winning,”said Alecxih.
Collins is clearly the early front runner for coach of the year.
The Sixers may be benefiting from a sub par schedule so far. The only quality team they have beaten is the Atlanta Hawks who are inconsistent at best.They will really be tested with their upcoming schedule, a seven-game stretch beginning Monday where they will face the Magic, Bulls,Heat, Hawks, Lakers, Spurs, and the Clippers.
Philly sports fans are said to be some the most critical in all of sports, in fact some of their fans are not satisfied with their hot start.
“They could be playing a lot better,”said senior Tyler Smith. “They have so much potential and they finally are deciding to use some of it.”
Smith raises a valid point, the Sixers have a talented young nucleus lead by Ohio State standout, Evan Turner, who had a solid rookie season but did not meet the expectations of the second overall pick in the 2010 draft.
Other young players like Spencer Hawes, and Jodie Meeks have stepped up this year, while veteran players like Williams and Igoudala provide experience and leadership.