Gametime: 7:00 PM EST
The Charlotte Bobcats travel to Philadelphia for a tilt with the young 76ers Wednesday. Having Michael Kidd-Gilchrist back in the lineup should help, especially defending rookie Sixers swingman Michael Carter-Williams.
Carter-Williams has been a revelation so far in his rookie season in 35 minutes of playing time per game. He leads the team in assists (7.0) and steals (2.7) per game and also chips in almost 18 points a night. Kidd-Gilchrist looked solid (save for the field goals, but anyway) last night against the Knicks in 30 minutes on the court.
A sneaky find for Philadelphia this season has been guard Tony Wroten. Acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies for a protected second round draft pick (!), Wroten is averaging about 14 points a game, playing about 25 minutes a night and good for at least 1-2 fun plays a game.
Evan Turner, who suddenly feels like a veteran, has had a career year and will be someone else that should certainly garner attention tonight. Turner is blossoming into the do-it-all swingman many thought he would be coming out of Ohio State. Leading the team in scoring with almost 19 points a game, Turner also grabs six rebounds and dishes out almost four assists.
Since beginning the calendar year with three straight wins, the Sixers have lost four straight and post a record of 12 wins against 25 losses. They do rank 12th in the league in points per game (102.5...uh-oh), but give up an abysmal 110.9 points to opponents per night (30th in the league...yay!).
Down low, Al Jefferson and company will have to contend with Spencer Hawes, Thaddeus Young aaaaaaaand that's about it. The Sixers do not have a lot of depth anywhere. Hawes and Young are talented players. Hawes is a capable big man, averaging career-best numbers in points (14.3 per game) and rebounds (8.6 per game) who can step out and knock down a perimeter shot if his hand is forced.
Young goes for a few more points (17.8) and not as many rebounds (6.6) every night but is an athletic power forward. This has been his best season in the NBA, and he can also step out and hit the three point shot. Occasionally the subject of trade talks, the young big man has been with the team since the Sixers drafted him 12th overall in 2007.
A road victory in mid-January is never a given for the Bobcats. As hard and as consistent as Clifford has gotten Charlotte to play this year, they will have to at least equal that tonight in Philadelphia. Much like the Bobcats, the Sixers are enjoying the first season with their own rookie head coach.
Brett Brown has been a breath of fresh air for much of the roster, and probably the fan base as well. The rejuvenation has been positive. The Sixers play hard and smart for the most part. Yet Philly still has the third worst record in the league and is 3-7 in its last 10 games at home.
While the Bobcats have more depth than the Sixers, Philly has some talented players in the starting five. Charlotte is just 3-7 in games with zero days rest so it would be a good sign for the rest of the season if the Bobcats can put together two solid games in a row. This is a good opportunity to get out of an early 2014 funk.