Well the good news is, the worst of the tank-fest is over. The Sixers are a better team than they were last year, but don’t expect playoffs. This is still a team that still has no offensive identity and will be cringe-worthy on occasion. They led the entire league in turnovers committed last year and they had the worst field goal percentage. On the bright side, the Sixers are a pretty reliable defensive team. They ranked in the top 10 in steals per game and was a top 15 team in terms of defensive efficiency. The hallmark of this team moving forward will be defense.
The two goals are of the Sixers are (Not necessarily winning)
2.Figuring out Who is Part of the Long Term Plan
Tony Wroten is the team’s best point guard. He has virtually no shooting stroke, but is a top-tier slasher. Wroten has consistently shown he can drive to the basket at-will. He has the length and athleticism to be a reliable scoring option on this team for seasons ahead. Not to mention he’s 22 years old.
Kendall Marshall and Isiah Canaan are most likely going to be the other two point guards at the end of the season. Marshall is a good distributor who can find the open man. The team really doesn’t have a player that can distribute at an efficient rate. They’ll miss Ish Smith in that regard (Never thought I’d say that). Isiah Canaan has a really nice shot from the perimeter, but is a shooting guard stuck in a point guard’s body.
As for the rest of the point guards on the team, I’m not sure they see too many games in a Sixers uniform. Wroten and Marshall won’t be healthy for opening night so Pierre Jackson, Scottie Wilbekin, or TJ McConnell will get some time to shine.
The starting spot at shooting guard is going to be a contest between Hollis Thompson and Nik Stauskas. Thompson is a wing player that has a nice touch from deep and is a solid defender from the perimeter. He has ideal height for the position at 6’8. The undrafted Georgetown Hoya will be squaring off with a lottery pick from just a year ago. Nik Stauskas was swapped to the Sixers in the summer after an underwhelming rookie campaign. He has a lot of potential. The Toronto-area native has a silky smooth jumper and he’ll get plenty of playing time on a team lacking a consistent perimeter game.
The reserve 2-guards will most likely end up being JaKarr Sampson and Jordan McRae. Sampson is 6’9 and incredibly raw. He doesn’t really have a signature offensive game. He is mediocre at best when it comes to shooting, but his length helps him get to the basket. Sampson also posses grade-A athleticism, which is a huge asset of his moving forward. He can play four positions which is also a testament to his all-around versatility. McRae is a scorer, who can score from nearly anywhere on the floor. He played in Australia last season and dropped about 30 points per game. He’s a guy to keep an eye on. The final SG, J.P. Tokoto will most likely end up in the D-League. He can’t shoot, but has incredible athleticism, which helps him defensively. Jean-Pierre Tokoto is a work in progress.
Robert Covington was a pleasant surprise last season. The Tennessee State product averaged 13 ppg last season, after spending time in the D-League. Covington is the most reliable shooter on the team. The 6’9 sniper should be a part of this team moving forward. There’s no such thing as a team with too many shooters.
Jerami Grant exceeded expectations last season. He appeared in 65 games and showed lots of upside on both sides of the ball. 68 blocks and 40 steals for a player that only started 11 games is rock-solid. Grant was really restricted offensively in college. He rarely attempted shots outside of 12-15 feet. He shot 30% from beyond the arc, which may not seem impressive, but for a paint player to adjust to the NBA three-point line, it’s nothing to worry over. His athleticism is a huge facet of his game. Grant can absolutely rock the rim.
Just ask Jonas Jerebko
Nerlens Noel will hold down the starting power forward position. He’s already one of the premiere defenders in the league and will only improve. The Fresh Prince of Tall Hair went on a rampage after the all-star break and was the second rookie center to average 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game. The first was David Robinson. Noel’s offensive game is coming along. He still needs to become more consistent shooting the ball. An underrated asset of Noel’s game is his abilty to distribute the ball from the post positions. He is a finisher around the rim, who really likes using his left hand. Look for Noel to improve this year in every aspect of his game.
The primary backup will be Carl Landry. He’s practically old enough to be Jahlil’s dad (Kidding he’s only 32). Landry is a really nice acquisition for two reasons, he is a proven role player and he’s a veteran presence. Landry has a post game that has been the reason for his 10.9 ppg for his career. Perhaps his most valuable asset to this team will be his experience. He is by far the oldest player on the roster and should have plenty to offer for a roster full of inexperience.
Richaun Holmes and Christian Wood should also see some playing time. Holmes has a skill-set much like Landry. He has a shooting stroke that gives him decent range for a big man and at 6’9 245 has the size and length to be a serviceable rebounder and defender. Christian Wood is a very intriguing prospect. He’s a sharpshooter, that can hit shots from beyond the arc. He has a 7’3 wingspan which makes for some pesky defense. The Achilles heel for Wood is his weight. When you’re 6’11 and only weigh 220, expect to get tossed around by stronger players. Wood could be a stretch-4 that tags along with the Sixers for a while.
Center is the position that offers the most to watch for Sixers fans. Jahlil Okafor is a guaranteed building block of this team. He is a rare talent. The NBA has been focused on stretching the floor and trying to get as many long-distance threats on the court as possible. Jahlil Okafor is the opposite. He is a traditional post scorer, who has an array of post moves. He has a feel and a touch around the basket that was unparalleled in the NCAA. Jah has a simple game, back to the basket and get the ball as close to the bucket as possible. He’s a true scorer and if his rebounding and defense catch up, watch out.
Furkan Aldemir is the backup center and has the lowest ceiling on this team. The 6’10 bigman from Turkey is a decent rebounder and that’s basically it. He can be practically invisible on offense and is nothing special on defense. There has to be some other center they can find with more potential and one they don’t have to pay about $2.8 million
Joel Embiid will not suit up this year, but I think its too early to consider him finished as a basketball player. He’s only 21 and has played basketball for a fraction of time compared to the rest of NBA-ers Nerlens Noel was probably getting recruited by the time Embiid moved to America and started to learn the game basketball. I think JoJo can still be a quality NBA player, but the expectations need to lessen. The talks of him becoming an All-NBA player should stop until he can actually get on the floor and contribute. The expectation should be not to become Greg Oden. If he is ready to go next year, unless something unforeseen happens, he’ll be 2nd string and coming off the bench.
The Sixers are just not equipped to be in the conversation for the playoffs. This will be a feisty, scrappy team that will claw their way to some wins, but lose plenty in the process. The Sixers won’t contend every night, but they will compete. The key to making this season watchable is to look for development and talent. I think there are some players on this roster that will be a part of the long term plan, but the roster will probably change a few dozen times over the season. Basically anyone on this team can be traded for the right price, except Okafor. This will be another year of Sixers fans waiting for the lottery.
Vegas has the Sixers over-under for wins at 21.5. With injuries being the variable. I think this team is capable of 20-26 wins
With the possibility of four 1st round picks, a great coach in Brett Brown, and the 2nd oldest guy(s) on this team is 24 years old I don’t get how fans can’t be looking forward to the future.
2015 will have its ups and downs, but just do one thing
Trust the process