NBA Preview from The Sports Network |
Wednesday, November 1st
(All times eastern)
Atlanta Hawks (0-0) at Philadelphia 76ers (0-0), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers attempt to start
the 2006-07 campaign with a win, as they square off tonight at the Wachovia
Allen Iverson is still a member of the Sixers. Rumors swirled all during the
summer regarding possible trades involving the dynamic guard, but team
president Billy King did not get an acceptable deal for the Georgetown
The Sixers finished a disappointing 38-44 last season under first-year head
coach Maurice Cheeks, and did not qualify for the postseason for the second
time in the last three years. Iverson, 31, led the Sixers in scoring (33.0
ppg) and assists (7.4 apg), while veteran forward Chris Webber averaged 20.2
points and 9.9 rebounds in 75 games.
Athletic phenom Andre Iguodala continued to impress in his second year in the
league. The former first-round pick averaged 12.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.1
assists. The versatile Iguodala can play shooting guard or small forward.
Center Samuel Dalembert, who signed a lucrative, multi-year contract during
the 2005 summer, had a disappointing 2005-06 campaign, while sharp-shooting
Kyle Korver is a liability on defense. The team hopes guard Willie Green, who
played just 10 games last season because of a knee injury which he suffered in
the summer of 2005, will continue to develop into a productive player. Green
did get a new multi-year contract during the offseason.
With all the rumors of possible trades involving Philadelphia, the Sixers had
a pretty quiet offseason. On draft night, they acquired Memphis product Rodney
Carney, who was drafted with the 16th overall pick by Chicago, and defensive
forward Bobby Jones, who was selected by Minnesota in the second round with
the 37th pick.
Swingman John Salmons has found a new home. The 6-7 Salmons signed a multi-
year deal with Sacramento. He played all 82 games last season and averaged 7.5
points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists for Philadelphia. Salmons spent the first
four years of his career with the Sixers.
Philadelphia was 23-18 as the host last season. The Sixers are scheduled to
visit the Orlando Magic on Friday at TD Waterhouse Centre.
There is still work that needs to be done in Atlanta, but the Hawks are
slowly putting together a youthful roster that has some decent talent.
The Hawks finished the 2005-06 campaign with a 26-56 record, which was
a 13-game improvement from the previous season.
Joe Johnson had a productive first season with the Hawks. The 25-year-old
Johnson, who was dealt by Phoenix to Atlanta in a sign-and-trade for Boris
Diaw and two future first round draft picks in August 2005, led the club in
scoring (20.2 ppg) and assists (6.5 apg). He played in all 82 regular-season
contests and is on the edge of becoming an All-Star.
Forward Al Harrington averaged 18.6 points and 6.9 boards in 76 outings for
the Hawks. However, the 26-year-old Harrington now wears an Indiana Pacers
uniform. Harrington and center John Edwards were sent to the Pacers in a sign-
and-trade deal that landed the Hawks a 2007 first-round draft pick.
Zaza Pachulia and Josh Smith had solid campaigns for the Hawks. Pachulia
contributed 11.7 points and a team-best 7.9 boards per game, while the
athletic Smith averaged 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.6 blocks.
Forward Marvin Williams, who was selected out of North Carolina with the
second overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, had some growing pains in his
rookie year. He scored 8.5 points and pulled down 4.8 rebounds in 79 games.
Williams, who played 24-plus minutes per contest, should see more time on the
court in his sophomore campaign.
Unfortunately, Williams has a non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal
of his left hand and is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks with the injury.
The injury occurred during a team workout on October 26th.
The Hawks missed the postseason for the seventh straight year, but once again
had the opportunity to add a solid player through the draft. Atlanta made a
bold pick with the fifth overall selection in the 2006 draft, as it grabbed
Duke power forward Shelden Williams. Third year head coach Mike Woodson will
give Shelden Williams plenty of playing time. The Hawks' rookie should help on
the glass and will be ready to the dirty work down low for his new squad.
Veterans Speedy Claxton and Lorenzen Wright joined the club through free
agency in the offseason. Claxton registered 12.3 points and 4.8 assists in 71
games for the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets last season, while Wright, who
played for the Hawks during the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 campaigns, averaged 5.8
points and 5.1 rebounds in 78 contests for Memphis. Claxton will help at point
guard, while Wright gives the Hawks depth in the low post.
General manager Billy Knight continues his attempt to put together a team that
will compete for a playoff berth in the near future. The Hawks are getting
better, but they are not there yet.
Atlanta was a brutal 8-33 on the road last season. The Hawks return home on
Friday for a two-game stand. They will host New York on Friday and the Magic
Last season, the Sixers won two of the three meetings between the clubs.
Atlanta has lost five straight at Philadelphia.
Philadelphia has lost three of its last five season-opening contests, while
Atlanta has dropped seven straight.
11/01 10:32:06 ET