The term “debate” has been used historically for an argument between multiple parties, with usually two, but sometimes several, different stances. Often, debates will have a more formal overture–with one position often reigning supreme (i.e. Iron Chef America). Yet in recent pop culture and sports lore there have been some great, insuperable debates. Lord of the Rings or Star Wars? Biggie or ‘Pac? Beatles or Stones? Boxers or briefs? These “Great Debates” truly are great debates. And yet, is there really an answer to any of these mind-chilling mysteries? Is one truly greater than the other? The answer, yes. Lord of the Rings, Biggie, Beatles and briefs, obviously.
In this inaugural edition of 76ers101’s Debate of the Week, we will speculate how Philadelphia’s 76ers will fare in this upcoming NBA season. With the addition of (super)star Andrew Bynum, losing the ever-so-controversial A.I.2, and boasting a roster with an average age of 25.7, the fortunes of this Sixers team are far from predictable. Still, we asked our writers to project an answer to the following question: Where will the 76ers end the 2011-12 NBA season? Will they make the playoffs and if so with what seed?
Jason: If Andrew Bynum comes back in a timely fashion, I believe the Sixers will be a top four seed in the Eastern Conference. With a deep bench and steady contribution from the starters, the Sixers should be able to wear down its opponents. Their main competition in the conference will be the heat obviously, the Boston Celtics, and the Indiana Pacers. The Sixers x-factor will be Dorrell Wright. Their most reliable option (ouside of Bynum) will be Thad Young. Record: 50-32
David: First of all, let me draw a clear line in the sand: Star Wars, The Beatles, Tupac, and Boxer-Briefs. Now onto basketball.
Here’s my take: Almost every team that was better than the Sixers last year got better, with the exception of Chicago, Orlando, and Indiana, who at worst stayed the same. On top of that, the Nets made a huge stride forward and are now considered in the upper echelon of the East. Not counting Andrew Bynum, the Sixers got marginally better, but not enough to overtake any of the teams that were already better than them. With Andrew Bynum, however, the Sixers do make a leap in front teams like Indiana, Atlanta, and maybe even Brooklyn and the Knicks. We still have yet to see Bynum play yet, a situation that Lakers fans are all too familiar with so it's hard to know how things will work out when there's no evidence of how the Sixers will play with Bynum. Based on these assumptions and my personal feeling that Bynum will not play more than 65 regular season games, I predict the Sixers will win 45 games, good for 7th in the East.
Eastern Playoff Predictions
1. Miami 64-18
2. Boston 51-31
3. Brooklyn 48-34
4. Bulls 43-39
5. Atlanta 47-35
6. Knicks 46-36
7. Philadelphia 45-37
8. Pacers 42-42
Ian: The Sixers 2012-2013 playoff seed will be determined by one thing, injuries. Although the season is still very young, its clear that without Andrew Bynum the roster is incomplete. We have a multitude of shooters, but not many shot creators. Also, we're still very slim in the front court. If Bynum's season is plagued by injuries then the Sixers won't live up to pre-season hype and will mostly likely sneak into the playoffs with a seven or eight seed. However if Bynum is able to recover and play a well for the majority of the season then it could end very differently. The roster is built around his presence and has the potential to be very dangerous with him manning the middle. If things play out this way then the Sixers could finish anywhere from a 3-5 seed. I think the latter is the more likely event and I think the Sixers will end the season with a 5th seed.
Rodrigo: A few weeks ago, when I had decided this would be the first Debate of the Week, I had it in my mind that I would claim the 76ers finish in the top four in the Eastern Conference. A few games into the season, and I maybe would have stated so at the begin of the season (yea right), I am seeing many weaknesses in the current 76ers team, and many strengths across the board in the East. One would then voice that this team is without Andrew Bynum; I would counter, we don’t even know when he’s coming back, and are we certain he’s going to be as good as we hope? Who knows?
Anyways, I’m basically seeing a number one seed lock in the Heat, obviously. Then I see nine teams that could literally be anywhere in the 2-8 seeds, omitting two. Those teams include the Knicks, Bucks, Hawks, Bulls, Celtics, 76ers, Pacers, Pistons and Nets. I’m not going to sit here arguing that the Bucks are as good as the Celtics, but rather, that they’re not that much better. The Knicks have too much talent and leadership to be a flop this year; I see them edging out Boston for the Atlantic Division title. The Bulls are going to win the Central now that Danny Granger is out, and claim the fourth seed without the fourth best record. I like the Nets and can see them being more dangerous than any other Atlantic Division team come playoffs; they are just going to need some time. I think the Sixers can end anywhere in the 6-9 spots, but here is how I predict this NBA season ends:
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