Sixers broadcaster Marc Zumoff offers his views on the team from his perch on press row:
I’m not sure it’s quantifiable or simply self-evident, but hopefully the quality of toughness will be on the checklist when piecing together this 76ers team going forward. That’s one of the reasons why the New York Knicks won at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night.
New York’s Kenyon Martin is 36 years old and isn’t the player he once was. But his flagrant foul early in the third quarter certainly set the tone for the rest of the game.
While I don’t advocate dirty play, I do advocate the need to be tough, physical and occasionally throw one's weight around. It delivers a message to the other team, one that lets them know you’re not backing down.
Amar’e Stoudemire displayed his own version of toughness when he consistently bullied his way inside, hitting his first eight shots. Along with athleticism, shooting ability, the desire to defend, being able to “be blue collar,” especially come playoff time, is a good thing.
It’s no longer a surprise that Michael Carter-Williams has been a surprise, and a very pleasant one at that.
While his shooting hasn’t been great, his scoring has been much greater than expected. Carter-Williams’ playmaking has been very good (though his assists are down lately) and while he was fourth in the nation last year at Syracuse in steals, his overall ability to disrupt at the defensive end has exceeded expectations.
In short, very few figured he’d be where he’d be at this point in the season, namely the leading candidate for NBA Rookie of the Year.
The view from here is that ability has met opportunity in the case of MCW. That is, he’s in a situation in which head coach Brett Brown and the system have been perfect for him. Carter-Williams starts, plays 35 minutes, and under Brown, has the freedom to do what few rookies can or are permitted to do.
But that’s just one view of why he’s been a surprise. What’s yours?
Leftovers, as opposed to turnovers ...
At last count, MCW’s jersey was 15th in sales of NBA jerseys nationwide. ... Evan Turner is trying to become the first Sixer to average at least 20 points in a season since everybody’s favorite No. 3 back in 2005-06. ... For rock dwellers, that No. 3 is being retired by the Sixers at halftime of the March 1 game against the Washington Wizards. ... By the way, the Sixers are featuring that game in a four-pack of games that also includes some great Allen Iverson collectibles from days gone by. Go to www.sixers.com for more info.