The NBA Draft has been over for a while, and the Orlando Summer League is almost over as well. I’ll be back later for a recap of how they did in the Summer League, but for now I’m going to look at how their roster looks and who fills in at each position. Today is the official beginning of free agency, in which both trades and actual signings can go through. While everyone seems to be talking about the landing spots of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, etc., the Sixers have been quietly looking for teams to trade with in order to land more picks.
It was announced yesterday that the Sixers have agreed in principle to trade for Jeremy Lin. While on the outside that may seem like a dumb trade for the Sixers, it could actually be a wonderful one if they grab some picks in the deal. But until that deal actually goes through, I’ll keep the analysis. If they can net some picks in this deal, I’d be happy. Anyway, without Lin yet on the roster, I’ll look at who they have. I didn’t include any of the guys that are free agents that they haven’t re-signed yet, so it’s slightly inaccurate, but it’s what they have as of now.
C Nerlens Noel
Noel is the clear starter at center for next year, even after the Sixers drafted C Joel Embiid in the first round of the draft. I would be surprised to see Embiid play a single game for them next year, giving Noel the chance to get some serious minutes as a starter in their lineup. He has already been dominating in the Summer League and will likely prove to be a solid center next year, and possibly in contention for the Rookie of the Year. He won’t be an all-star immediately, but he certainly has the potential to be. I can’t wait to see what he can do on a day-to-day basis.
PF Thad Young
I still can’t believe that Young is still on the roster at this point. I’m not at all upset about it because he was their leading scorer, as well as a good rebounder and one of the top power forwards in steals, but I’m just surprised they didn’t end up trading him at some point. There have been countless rumors about trades involving Young in the past year, and he seemingly has the best trade value among their veterans. Well, he’s actually only one of two veterans, so that’s not hard to do, but still. I was okay with them trading him, but in the end I think it’s better for him to stay on the roster at least until the trade deadline. They need his leadership.
SF K.J. McDaniels
McDaniels was the first of their five 2nd round picks in this year’s draft, and he figures to be the best out of them. He’s already slated to be the starting small forward on their roster, and has certainly proved his worth in the Summer League. He is a very athletic guy that can do a whole bunch of things, and fits well as a SF on their team. Like Noel, he will benefit greatly from the large amount of minutes that he’ll receive. As I’ve said before, I think he has the potential to be my favorite player on the team, and definitely my favorite rookie.
SG Tony Wroten
When it’s all said and done, Wroten is probably not going to be a starter, but he fits in perfectly as their 6th man. He’s a guy that still needs to work on a lot, such as his shooting percentage and ability to hold onto the ball. I really like Wroten though. Like many of the players on this team, his potential is determined by how much playing time he gets, and he could easily receive starter-level minutes as the 6th man. But until then, I am forced to list him as the starter.
PG Michael Carter-Williams
With Carter-Williams rounding out the starting lineup, it actually looks really good on paper. And this is with a year of tanking left. The Sixers are not going to be good enough to make the playoffs next year, and they really shouldn’t try too hard. Carter-Williams needs to continue to be the leader in both the backcourt and of the entire team, because this team is trying to build around guys like him. He’s probably their best player already, and he still has lots of potential (sounds familiar, right?). He will use this year to continue to get better so that when they get Embiid and another round of rookies the following year, he’ll be at a level that can take them to the playoffs.
SF Jerami Grant
Grant may have only been picked a few picks below McDaniels in the draft, but he’s clearly the guy that will be coming off the bench. He’s another guy that can do a lot of different things for them, including play good defense, something they struggled a lot with last year. I figure he’ll get about 20 minutes a game next year for them as one of their top bench players, but I don’t expect anything too amazing from him. He’s likely to just be a solid bench player for them moving forward, and a big upgrade from guys like Elliot Williams and Byron Mullens.
PG Pierre Jackson
Jackson, who was originally drafted by the Sixers last year but traded immediately to the Pelicans, finds himself back in Philadelphia. He was set to be a backup PG to Carter-Williams for next year, but unfortunately he ruptured his Achilles in the first Summer League game and could miss the entire season. They probably feel bad getting rid of him already, but since next year figures to be another one filled with losses and people coming and going on the roster, they’ll probably want to open up a roster spot. It’s not like Jackson is a prodigy or anything, but it’s a shame he got hurt already. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him released.
C Joel Embiid
Here’s another player who probably won’t play a single game in the 2014-2015 season. He will probably miss about 6-8 months recovering from his foot injury, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him face a similar fate as Noel. Aka, no matter when he’s ready to return, it won’t be until next year’s Summer League. Embiid has the potential to be yet another great player for the Sixers, and the idea of a duo of him and Noel on the court at the same time is scary to think about. But for now, he’ll be that injured guy in the suit on the bench all season, following in the footsteps of Noel and Andrew Bynum.
SG Jason Richardson
Who knows what’s up with Richardson these days. He seems to be the forgotten guy on the roster, but he’ll be sticking around for at least one more year after picking up his $6.6 million player option for next year. He missed the entire season last year after recovering from an injury, and I personally wouldn’t care if he missed the entire year next year too. He could be a solid veteran off the bench to provide a couple quick 3-pointers, but at this point in the Sixers’ rebuilding stage, they don’t really have room for guys like him. So bottom line: he’ll probably get some DNPs even if he’s healthy, but no one’s going to lose sleep if he’s hurt again.
PF Arnett Moultrie
When are the Sixers going to give up on this guy? Now that Mullens is gone, I can safely say that Moultrie is the worst player on their roster. He’s also wasting a spot on the roster that could be filled with a guy that might actually play next year, like Iranian prospect Arsalan Kazemi. Kazemi will probably sign with them at some point in this offseason, and Moultrie is a waste of space.
That rounds out the list of guys that are actually on the team at this point, and it puts their roster at ten people. They’ll probably fill the next five with guys in the Summer League or guys that played with them last year. Guys I’d like to see on the roster next year: Casper Ware, Henry Sims, and Jarvis Varnado. We’ll see what their first move is this offseason, but I’m guessing it’ll be to acquire Lin. Let Linsanity begin once again.