The players have heard the whispers. They know what outsiders think as the 2013-14 season approaches.
Not much is expected from this version of the Sixers. It’s a young group with potential, but very little depth.
“I hear what people say,” said forward Thaddeus Young. “People say things like, ‘Good luck,’ and, ‘Get a good draft pick.’ But we, as players, know we have to go out there and perform. We have a job to do. I also think we have very talented players who are going to improve.”
Following last year’s 34-48 debacle, which included the Andrew Bynum saga, changes were abundant. Bynum signed with the Cavaliers. Coach Doug Collins resigned and the team hired Brett Brown, formerly a bench coach with the Spurs under Gregg Popovich.
GM Tony DiLeo wasn’t retained and Sam Hinkie was hired. Rod Thorn left for the league office.
All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday was traded to New Orleans. In return came Nerlens Noel, who could wind up being a franchise player. Noel will be out until at least December while recuperating from an ACL injury.
The Sixers drafted Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams to replace Holiday.
“Personally, I’m excited,” Carter-Williams said. “I’m going to do everything I can to represent the Sixers in a positive way. We’re going to work hard and give it our all every single day. I can’t wait to get started in training camp. I’m extremely competitive and I think we’re going to surprise people.”
The Sixers open the season at home against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. It doesn’t get much more challenging than that.
“That’s fine because we might as well go against the champs to start to see where we stand,” Young said. “I think it will be a good barometer for us. I’m anxious and excited to see where we are, how we develop, get better and improve all season under coach [Brett] Brown. I know we’ll get better.”