It's no secret that the 76ers will struggle to score at times this season. As fans and media alike have observed, their roster is ripe with youth and inexperience, and it lacks an established offensive option.
So we'll likely see a drop from last season's 99.5 average points per game, which ranked 19th in the NBA. Much of that production was a result of the Sixers' pace on the floor. Brett Brown's team attempted 87.2 field goals per game last season, second-most in the league behind only the Minnesota Timberwolves, who attempted 87.5 per game.
Brown hinted during the offseason that the team would likely play at a slightly slower pace this year. That would lead to fewer field goal attempts and in turn, less offensive output.
Add in the fact that the Sixers let go of three of their top scorers from last season - Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young - without replacing them, and the problem becomes even clearer.
But the absence of established options presents an opportunity. One player who is potentially poised for a big season is second-year swingman Hollis Thompson.
The Georgetown product really started to step into his own during the second half of last season, when he took over a starting spot. He earned more minutes and more time on the ball, leading to more scoring overall and a better three-point shooting percentage in particular.
Thompson continued his momentum in Summer League play, propelling the Sixers to the Orlando title. He added improved defense and driving in the lane to his already solid shooting. With plenty of wing minutes available in the Sixers' rotation, Thompson is eager for the opportunity to show Philadelphia and the NBA just what he can do.
"I'm just excited, man," he said at Sixers media day. "I'm very excited going into the season."
Considering the opportunity in front of him, he has good reason to be excited.
Although the Sixers may scale back from last season's breakneck pace, they will still aim to have one of the league's most wide-open offenses. That style provided lots of opportunities to score, though it also admittedly inflated some players' stats. (I'm looking at you, Evan Turner).
Thompson will benefit from that style if he fulfills his potential as a full-season starter. And he'll be out to prove that he has a future here, or elsewhere in the NBA, as he doesn't have a long-term contract.
He shot 40 percent from three-point range last season, the best of any rookie. If he is able to add a drive to his game like he hinted at in the summer, he will be able to constantly keep defenders on their heels.
With increased confidence and experience, Thompson should be able to increase his scoring too, perhaps even doubling last season's offensive output.
Another part of what makes Thompson such a promising prospect is his ability on the defensive side of the ball. At 6-foot-8, he is long and athletic, and has the ability to guard both perimeter positions. In particular, he is not afraid to pressure the ball-handler, making things tough for the opposing offense.
Thompson's dedication to defense stems from Brett Brown's emphasis on that end of the ball.
"Coach made it pretty clear from day one that if I wanted to play, it was going to be through defense," he said. "If I don't play defense, I'm not going to play, so I'm going to play defense."