The Denver Nuggets are on the road this evening in the City of Brotherly Love to take on the 76ers, in what should be a good opening night game. Andre Iguodala is back in Philly after being involved in the blockbuster trade that sent him to Denver and sent Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson to Philadelphia. Iguodala had an up and down eight seasons with the Sixers, and never really garnered the Sixer faithful's trust during his tenure. But now he is starting anew with a young Nuggets team led by future hall of fame coach George Karl.
Both teams are relatively young and both also are looking to make some noise in their respective conferences. Denver has made some huge roster moves during the offseason, and brought in JaVale McGee from the Wizards, Danilo Gallinari from the Knicks and Iggy from the Sixers. Grouped with Ty Lawson at the point and Ken Faried at power forward, the Nuggets have a starting five that is young and will be looking to capture a spot in the playoffs come April.
The Sixers haven't revamped their roster as much as Denver has, but nonetheless has made some important changes to help vault them into playoff contention again. Bynum was brought in from Los Angeles where he had a tumultuous relationship with ex-coaches Phil Jackson and Mike Brown. At times Bynum has been seen as immature and a trouble maker, and Sixers brass are hoping that head coach Doug Collins and Bynum establish a healthy relationship early.
With Iguodala departing, the Sixers don't have a lockdown defender to guard some of the NBA's best. Evan Turner now steps into Iggy's spot at small forward, and will have a lot to prove this season. Turner is smart and can score in bunches, but he doesn't possess the defensive skills that Iguodala does. It'll be interesting to see those two go at one another this evening. Former late round pick Lavoy Allen will get the start at center and has deserved it after his performance against Joakim Noah and Kevin Garnett in last year's playoffs.
Collin's is relying on Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday to take control of the offense early, which could be hard considering Holiday is in the midst of a contract dispute with the organization. Holiday says he is focused on tonight, and the Sixers are hoping Holiday can pan out into the All-Star point guard they were hoping he could be after being drafted out of UCLA.
Bynum won't be starting or playing at all this evening due to a knee injury. Sixers CEO Tony DiLeo says they will "take it slow" in regards to his progression with rehab. They added sharpshooter Nick Young and big man Dorell Wright in the offseason, so both will need to be productive off the bench until Bynum is fully healthy. This is a Sixers team that was one win away from the Eastern Conference finals last season, and with a healthy Bynum they very well could find themselves in the midst of an Eastern crown in April.