The NBA season is only a few weeks old, but there are already many surprise performances by teams and players around the league. Arguably, the league’s biggest surprise is the play of the new-look Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers traded their all-star point guard, Jrue Holiday, to the New Orleans Pelicans for a first-round pick and Kentucky product, Nerlens Noel. This was a highly debated trade; the Sixers sent away much of their young talent the previous offseason when they acquired Andrew Bynum.
Many analysts and fans alike, believed that the Sixers would be one of the worst teams in all of professional basketball. The team was predicted to only win 16 games all season. Philadelphia was virtually guaranteed the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft.
With that pick, college basketball analysts had expected the Sixers to take Canadian superstar, Andrew Wiggins, who is currently playing for the University of Kansas. Fans even created a Twitter account called @winlessforwiggins to show their support of the Sixers’ losing season. While the rest of the country was preparing themselves for one of the worst teams in NBA history, the Sixers’ organization had other plans. The team then made a number of deals, signing virtually unknown players to add to a core group that returned from the previous year. Additions such as Tony Wroten and James Anderson have already made a huge difference in the line-up.
The Sixers then took Syracuse University’s Michael Carter-Williams with their first-round selection. Philadelphians were fearful that Carter-Williams would not be able to handle the pressure after taking over Holiday’s role. The rookie has proven those individuals wrong so far; this season, Carter-Williams has averaged a little over 17 points and seven assists per game. In his first week of competition, Carter-Williams earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week. He is only the second rookie in NBA history to do so through his first 10 games.
The Sixers are now 4-4. There is no way of knowing whether the team will continue its success the rest of the season or die off as many had already believed they would. All we know is that this team is not just going to roll over and die. They have already beat top contenders like the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls. With these types of victories already under their belt, the Sixers’ season and future is looking up.