The Game Plan

With some down time before the 76ers begin their regular season against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, we wanted to be sure to keep things flowing here on Deep Sixer. OK, so there is no additional information or analysis (maybe there will be a little) to drop before we see the real deal next week, but here's the game plan for the Sixers' preview section, which kicks off in the Inquirer on Saturday: 

An in-depth look at Jrue Holiday's summer, which included working out with a former gold medalist; three weeks in Istanbul, Turkey with USA Basketball and Andre Iguodala; an Inside the Sixers about the problems regarding the team's roster; rookie Evan Turner, what he's all about and a guide to how the Top 5 picks are playing; an NBA almanac -- everything to watch around the league; and a sneak peak of the Miami Heat before they take to the Wells Fargo Center court on Oct. 27.

And on that night, we'll be off and running for 82 games this season.

Since training camp opened on Sept. 28, the optimism for what this season might hold has slipped and the question is easy: why has that happened? Videos are nice, but sometimes it's necessary to dive more in-depth about why things have soured in the last month. As someone who has seen the pre-season games that weren't on TV -- at the Toronto Raptors, at the Cleveland Cavaliers, etc. -- the easiest way to explain is that the team doesn't look ready for the season yet.

There is no set starting lineup, there is no set rotation, and there is no understanding of who plays well together, or if any five players actually do play well together. At the start of camp, Spencer Hawes seemed like at least a promising replacement at center, but he hasn't played in three weeks. The fact that Tony Battie is looking like a viable option at center is worrisome, to say the least. In general, you'd be hard pressed to find another team with so many question marks heading into the first game of the regular season.

Looking at the starting lineup, you can pencil in three guys: Holiday, Iguodala, and Brand. Who fills the other two spots dramatically alters the team's strengths and weaknesses. If it's Young and Hawes, this team has no shooting. If it's Turner and Young, the team can't defend inside. If it's Kapono and Hawes, you've added the shooting, but you've lost speed.

Well, now we're getting back into analysis, which we said we'd save for after the actual games. Preview section starts running tomorrow, so hopefully it sheds some light on what you'll be watching for the next six months.