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Game 34 Preview: Wolves (16-17) @ Sixers (12-21)

Jan 2, 2014; Sacramento, CA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers power forward Thaddeus Young (21) takes a shot over Sacramento Kings power forward Jason Thompson (34) during the second quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Philadelphia 76ers traded Andre Iguodala for Andrew Bynum two seasons ago, it was to give their established point guard Jrue Holiday and their young wing Evan Turner a chance to develop with a big man in the pivot to build around.

When the Sixers rookie general manager Sam Hinkie traded Holiday for injured lottery pick Nerlens Noel, hired former Spurs assistant Brett Brown to his first head coaching job and drafted Michael Carter-Williams as Holiday’s replacement, they appeared to be in tank mode.

With wins over the Lakers, Nuggets, Kings and Trail Blazers, they’ve been feasting on the mid-to-lower tiered Western Conference squads and the Wolves would seem ripe to fall after their collapse against the Thunder — I don’t believe that they are, though. The Wolves are 7-point favorites and are likely to play with an edge after losing at home to OKC.

But we’ll see…

Likely starters for Philadelphia:

PG Michael Carter-Williams

SG Evan Turner

SF Hollis Thompson

PF Thaddeus Young

C Spencer Hawes

As a former #2 overall draft pick, Turner has an $8.7 qualifying offer price tag for the 2014-15 season. The Sixers have not extended Turner that offer and it would seem they will be parting ways over the summer. This is all captain obvious talking, but Turner is averaging 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists and averaging other career highs in minutes (37) and shot attempts (17) in full-on green light mode. He’s shooting a very career-consistent 44% from the field and a very Wolvesian 29% (but also consistent with his career 31%) from three.

Before everybody starts talking junk about trading for this guy, let’s check the chart…

Shotchart_1389043173479

I could go on about this, but let’s move on.

Thaddeus Young is the Eastern Conference Player of the Week. He’s averaging 26 points, 8 rebounds, 3.6 steals on over 54% shooting over his last five games.

Carter-Williams is likely to play after passing concussion tests after Saturday’s elbow to his head. The rookie is at 16 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists on 38% shooting from the field over his last five games.

Likely Wolves starters:

PG Ricky Rubio

SG Kevin Martin

SF Corey Brewer

PF Kevin Love

C Nikola Pekovic

Philly is one of the five teams in the league that shoot the three worse than Minnesota at 32.7% and 28 best. That they score 10th best in the league in overall scoring (around 103 a game). However, the Sixers are the 4th best behind only Miami, Dallas and Minnesota in steals per game, at 8.9. Tonight could well be a track meet.

Topics: Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, Kevin Love, Kevin Martin, Michael Carter-williams, Minnesota Timberwolves, Nerlens Noel, Nikola Pekovic, Philadelphia 76ers, Pregame, Preview, Ricky Rubio

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