Philly future in the air

By By Jason Peterson

By Jason Peterson

Sometimes it’s best to forget the mistakes of the past and focus on the future.

The Utah Jazz will likely shudder at the memory of each turnover and each missed opportunity late in Monday’s 113-109 loss at Madison Square Garden. The truth that might be hardest to swallow is that the New York Knicks just could have Utah’s number.

Just as the Jazz dismantled a tough Detroit Pistons team for the fifth time in a row, the Knicks had an answer for every Jazz run and took their sixth of seven meetings against Utah.

If streaks foretell wins, the Jazz should have little problem with tonight’s opponent — the Philadelphia 76ers. In the last 12 games, Utah owns a 9-3 advantage over the 76ers.

Further helping Utah’s cause tonight is the absence of sharpshooting forward Kyle Korver because of a groin strain.

Sixers star guard Andre Iguodala recently fired off comments asking for a personnel change after a particularly sloppy loss to the Washington Wizards last week. Iguodala clarified that he wasn’t insinuating a trade demand, but rumors have surfaced that the 76ers are open to trading veteran (and former Ute) point guard Andre Miller.

Fans in Philadelphia have grown accustomed to such remarks over the years. Superstar Allen Iverson eventually wore out his welcome in the City of Brotherly Love and the Sixers agreed to trade him to Denver last December.

In return, Philadelphia received Miller, Joe Smith (now with Chicago) and two draft picks. The 76ers also agreed to a buyout with power forward Chris Webber in January.

Philadelphia has since entered full-on rebuilding mode and, through draft picks, assembled a young core of talent led by Iguodala’s team-high 18.2 points and five assists per game.

Miller is averaging 14.2 points but a career-low four assists per game. Management has given no indications of trading Miller, but if third-year guard Louis Williams keeps improving (he has doubled his numbers each year), they may re-sign Williams to a hefty extension this summer and hand him the reigns for the next decade.

Williams, who was drafted out of high school in the second round of 2005’s NBA Draft, is coming off the bench for nearly 12 points and 3.3 assists per game.

Veterans Samuel Dalembert and Reggie Evans anchor the middle by combining for 17 rebounds per contest.

Former Jazz-man Louis Amundson signed on with the Sixers after strong showings in the National Basketball Development League and for the Sixers’ summer league squad.

Recent draft picks Jason Smith and Thaddeus Young along with young guns Rodney Carney, Willie Green and Korver add to a roster that could potentially be a dangerous one given enough time to develop.

For now, Philly fans will have to be patient as their Sixers continue to struggle in the Post-Iverson era.

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