After turning our attention from the lockout to the amnesty clause to free agency, it's finally time to look at something on the court. Assuming the Sixers don't make any big moves in the next 3.5 weeks, the starting lineup is set at PG, SF and PF. The center position will probably be a lesser of several evils deal, which leaves us with the two.
Jodie Meeks or Evan Turner. That's your choice. If you want, go ahead and throw Lou Williams in there as well, but I don't consider him a viable candidate.
Meeks started 64 games last season after it was Turner's job to lose...and he did. Turner came on strong in the playoffs, especially on the defensive end, but overall you'd have to consider his rookie season a huge disappointment.
Right now, Turner's going to have to take the job away from Meeks. In Meeks, Doug Collins found a guy who could knock down the open three and spread the floor without taking possessions away from Jrue, Brand or Iguodala. The team turned things around when Meeks was inserted in the starting lineup. Meeks was hot from three for the majority of the season before going ice cold as the team backed into the playoffs. On the defensive end, Jodie isn't quite a liability, though he's far from ideal. He probably makes himself into an average defender with hustle which makes up for his physical limitations. Meeks fit the squad last season, and it's reasonable to assume he could do the same this year.
If Turner shows up for the abbreviated camp without a firm handle on his shiny new jumper, he's probably not going to win the job. If he shows up without the confidence he lost somewhere between Columbus, Ohio and Philadelphia, the job will belong to Meeks. We got a glimpse of what Jrue, Turner and Iguodala can do on the floor together in the playoffs. Turner can be a dynamic player on both ends of the floor. Those three guys can absolutely manhandle an opponent's entire perimeter on the defensive end, and they can use their handles and strength to get easy hoops for themselves and others on the offensive end. For this team to take a giant step forward with their current personnel, they're going to need Turner to be the spark. They're going to need to get those three guys on the floor together, but simply getting them on the floor isn't enough. They need Turner to be the player they drafted him to be, because the tentative rookie we saw last year...well, if we see him again, it's going to be Meeks, and it should be.
Time for predictions. Who do you think will be the starting shooting guard for the Sixers on opening night?