Players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and A'mare Stoudemire have been discussed as shaping the future of the NBA, yet in some circles the real future of the league is shaping elsewhere.
With the success of the U.S. National team at this summer's FIBA World Championship, a team who has three players under the age of 23 and seven of 12 players under the age of 25, the growth of the next generation of NBA starts has begun.
Young players like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Love have pushed the spotlight of the league towards balanced teams of young players and away from one-superstar spotlight rosters that have fueled the league since the Jordan Era.
With this being said, any logically minded person is not discounting the facts that the big-name teams like the Heat and Lakers will be the last standing in the NBA Playoffs, the youth movement is showing that other non-profile teams may be the ones making up the congregation of teams in the playoffs.
Despite all the hype surrounding the big free-agent signees, many within the league are starting to pay attention to a strong youth movement that is developing are many non-playoff teams, none more prevalent then the Philadelphia 76ers
Do The Sixers Have A Shot At The Playoffs?
The changing of the guard surrounding the Sixers has intensified with Andre Iguodala's (26) presence as one of the silent leaders on Team U.S.A and many reports predict that point guard Jrue Holiday (20) could be one of the league's breakout players in 2010-11.
NBA.com columnist Shaun Powell recently published a article discussion eight teams he feels could make substantial runs at the NBA Playoffs and the Sixers made the list. He states that with new head coach Doug Collins' history of producing strong playoff teams (Bulls, Wizards, Pistons) the Sixers have an outside shot of making some noise this season.
The key to Powell's estimation is the coach's ability to rejuvenate veteran forward Elton Brand and grow the skills of his point guard in Jrue Holiday.
Another report from Sportsnetwork.com's John McMullen points to Holiday's potential as one of the leagues top point guards. He explains the within his rookie season Holiday has removed the "raw and huge upside" tag and has shown signs that he on-court vision could help his surpass players like Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, and Brandon Jennings in time.
Holiday was the leagues youngest player on opening night last season at 18 years old and will hold down the Sixers backcourt for years to come.
With the league's growing youth movement, we are not talking about the Sixers viewing for the Larry O'Brien trophy this season, but a model like that of the Oklahoma City Thunder is more of a reasonable expectation; a team with a new coach and a long lease for player development.
The Sixers may have suffered a setback last season when they went 27-55 under head coach Eddie Jordan, but with the growth of their young players and their dedication towards developing young talent the future looks bright in Philadelphia.