Sixers vs. Heat: What to Look for on Opening Night

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The 2013-14 Sixers will begin their tumultuous journey against the reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat. While the boys from South Beach will be looking to win their third NBA title in a row, the Sixers will be embarking on a season that will undeniably witness a lot more losses than wins.

The losses however will not have quite the sting to them that they have in the past. This year’s Sixers team is in full on rebuild mode, something that the team has been hesitant to embrace since the first departure of Allen Iverson.

The franchise’s official slogan for this season is “Together We Build”, a phrase that fully embodies what this season is all about.

The roster features a myriad of rookies and young players that will have to develop and grow if they are to reach their ultimate goal. That means there will indeed be growing pains and game one of the season will certainly have its share of pains.

On Opening Night, we will see two franchises with very different missions. One will be looking to further assert their dominance on the NBA while the other will be laying the foundation for what they hope will be a renaissance of one of the NBA’s greatest franchises.

Here’s what to look for during game one.

1. Composure:

Obviously the Sixers are the less talented roster going into their matchup with Miami. That will be the case on most nights for the Sixers. While pure talent will be evident in the stat sheet, composure will not.

A good sign for this Sixers team will be if they go out, fight hard, and do not let the moment swallow them up. Tonight we will find out if this team at the very least has a sense of pride. That can be a key foundation for the franchise to build on.

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2. Leadership:

With so much turnover on the roster, new leaders will ultimately emerge for the Sixers. Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes are clearly the default leaders and there is no reason to question them in those roles, but who else will step up to the plate.

Rookie point guard, Michael Carter-Williams will have to lead as he will be the floor general for this team in his first NBA game.

Carter-Williams is for now an important piece to the Sixers long-term rebuilding plans and the way his teammates respond to his leadership is certainly something worth looking out for.

3. Coaching:

Brett Brown will make his NBA head coaching debut against a team that he faced as an assistant last year in the NBA Finals. That means Brown spent countless hours game-planning for the Heat. That may not give the Sixers enough of an edge to win, but it will be interesting to see how he employs some of what he knows about facing the Heat.

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This will also be a chance to see what Brown’s rotation will be like. The Sixers open the season with some injuries to veteran players, Kwame Brown and Jason Richardson and they will most likely be without the services of rookie Nerlens Noel for most of the season as well as second year big man Arnett Moultrie.

This creates an open competition for a lot of minutes and Brown will have to determine what players deserve those minutes the most.

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4. Potential:

With the regular season now upon us, it is a prime time to determine what players have the potential to stick around with this rebuild. Players like Carter-Williams, Tony Wroten, Daniel Orton, and James Anderson could potentially be pieces worth hanging onto for the future.

How they compete for the first time on the big stage with the Sixers will say a lot about how badly they want to be a part of what could potentially be something special.

This will also be the first indication of whether players like Turner, Young and Hawes are veteran pieces to keep around or chips to barter off down the road.

5. Allen Iverson:

The last thing to look out for on Opening Night is the return of Allen Iverson to the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers are holding a press conference to make a “special announcement” prior to the game and will reportedly have a ceremony to announce the official retirement of one of their greatest players. Sixers fans will get to relive the moments of the last time the franchise was at its peak on the night when they will also be looking toward the future.

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Posted on October 29, 2013, in 76ers, Ray Boyd and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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