2014-15 Record: 18-64
Jahlil Okafor, Richaun Holmes, Pierre Jackson, Carl Landry, Kendall Marshall, Nik Stauskas, Gerald Wallace
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Glenn Robinson III, Jason Richardson, Thomas Robinson, Henry Sims, Ishmael Smith
Projected 2015-16 Lineup
PG Tony Wroten, SG Nik Stauskas, SF Robert Covington, PF Nerlens Noel, C Jahlil Okafor
It’s almost hard to write a proper breakdown for a team who has been tanking for the past half decade and doesn’t appear to being doing anything other than that going into this season. Sure, Joel Embiid is going to spend another season on the sideline, but even with him in the mix, there’s likely not enough on this Sixer team for anything overwhelmingly positive to happen. That said, there’s plenty of young talent on this team that should be fun to watch. Nerlens Noel could become a leading defensive player in the league, especially with the size of Okafor assisting down low. Sauce Castillo/Nik Stauskas was exciting in flashes last year and could be a bargain for the Sixers going into this year. Things won’t be pretty in Philly, but they should at least be watchable, which is a major upgrade over what we’ve seen in the past.
X-Factor: Jahlil Okafor
I was fairly outspoken before the draft about how I thought the Timberwolves would’ve been wise to take Okafor with the number 1 overall pick, and I stand by that claim. Okafor is the most polished offensive product in the class, and he may be one of the best young big men on that side of the floor that we’ve seen in a long, long time. It’s going to take some adjusting to the NBA game, and trying to do a jump hook over Rudy Gobert or Omer Asik is going to be much more difficult than your average ACC foe, but a solid season from Okafor could mean good things for the Philly squad.
Most To Prove: Tony Wroten
Is Wroten a legit scoring threat in the NBA or is he just capable of filling the stat sheet in games that don’t matter when his team has no other options? That question was talked about for most of last year, with the majority siding with the latter option. Wroten did score 16.9 per last season, so if he can keep up similar numbers all while upping the efficiency a tad, he could be in store for a solid career.
Why They’re Worth Watching
Okafor may be the biggest reason, but watching him and Noel play together could be really fun. In terms of sheer size, their frontcourt may only be matched by New Orleans, and while that hasn’t been as fun to watch on defense as we had hoped, Philly could be exciting on both ends of the floor.
What the heck, let’s surprise some people here. It’s not like there isn’t young talent on this roster. Sure, there’s also a handful of guys who hardly belong in the D League, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see a few more KJ McDaniels evolve. That plus a monster ROTY season for Okafor could mean good, well decent, things. 26-56
I mean, the tank machine still seems to be in fully effect here, so who knows just how low they could fall. I’m inclined to think that there’s enough talent here that they at least make double digits in wins, but I suppose a historically bad season isn’t totally out of the question. 10-72