By Ray Boyd
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s hard to learn a lot about any team, in any sport, after one game. With the Sixers however, it may be a little more possible due to the fact that there are not too many layers to this team.
There were some concrete takeaways from the Sixers’ season opener that will more than likely hold true for the entire season. There was some good. There was some bad. All of which was to be expected for a team that boasts an average age under 24 years old.
One thing that is true about this team is they have energy. For better or worse, they can run. The Sixers showed active hands against the Pacers from the opening tip on and proved that they could be a menace on the defensive end due to their length and athleticism.
The pure energy that the Sixers have will bode well for them to a point. It’s like the saying “work smarter, not harder.” The Sixers know how to work hard. Brett Brown’s mission will be to teach them how to work smart.
The Sixers as a team earned 10 steals and forced the Pacers to turn the ball over 18 times. That was purely based off hustle and energy. The flip side of all that energy showed in unfinished drives to the basket and over zealous shot attempts when another pass or two would have sufficed.
The Sixers need the knowledge to develop over time and for the energy to not subside.
LISTEN: Rich Hofmann of Liberty Ballers previews the Sixers season on Sports Beyond Measure
We also learned that Nerlens Noel has the potential to turn into a double-double machine. In his first official NBA game, Noel recorded 10 rebounds and blocked three shots. He did the things he was advertised to. He changed shots on the defensive end and pulled down four offensive rebounds to give the Sixers second chances.
It was also confirmed that his offense is still a work in progress.
He managed to score six points on 2-11 shooting. He needs to bulk up to avoid being knocked off his spot when he goes to make moves with his back to the basket. The technical skills have improved, but he has to develop the body structure to endure an 82 game season.
His true potential is in the lob game. A few years ago that may not have sounded like a viable offensive style, but watching what the Clippers do on a nightly basis has put that notion to rest.
The pick and roll lob game will be where Noel makes his impact on offense throughout his career. The key is having the right partner to set him up. When we eventually see Michael Carter-Williams, that will be his task.
What we learned finally is that this is a team with some level of potential in them. Last season, it was hard to witness that because aside from Carter-Williams, there was no one on the floor that you could reasonable assume was a part of a building structure.
Players like Noel, Tony Wroten, Hollis Thompson, K.J. McDaniels, Henry Sims and maybe even Alexey Shved all proved that they could contribute in a tangible way on a winning team. For now they are miscast due to the roster’s make up.
If all goes according to plan, some of them will be key blocks when the structure is fully complete.
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