Sixers are Moving in the Right Direction

By: David DiPasqua, Jr.

The Philadelphia 76ers have hopefully turned a page after drafting Ben Simmons with the top selection in the NBA Draft. 

Despite only having 47 wins in the past three seasons, the city is filled with optimism as things are beginning to unfold. 

One of the Sixers’ prized assets in Joel Embiid has been cleared by doctors to officially play. However, they are being cautious and will not have him participating in summer league.

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Saric likely starts off as Philly’s 6th man 

Another pleasant surprise was Dario Saric’s announcement that he will joining Philadelphia this season. The former first round pick in 2014 provides another reliable scorer who can apparently shoot from the outside. 

Additionally, the team has Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel as twin towers in the paint. There have been several rumors surrounding both players, especially on draft night.

Most likely one of these players will be dealt, but it MUST be for fair value. Otherwise, keep all the bigs and make it work. Think about it, someone will probably be injured or need extra rest (Embiid). Head coach Brent Brown should find a way to make it work. 

The more depth the better. Cut the players who don’t belong in the league. 

Projected Starting Lineup (As of Now)

  1. Jerryd Bayless
  2. Gerald Henderson
  3. Robert Covington 
  4. Ben Simmons 
  5. Jahlil Okafor 

Off the bench bigs: Nerlens Noel,  Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Jerami Grant, & Richaun Holmes 

Off the bench guards: Sergio Rodriguez, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Hollis Thompson, T.J. McConnell, & Nik Stauskas 

2017

Being patient will payoff, considering this team will not be able to sign a player like a Kevin Durant. However, this upcoming season will be huge for a variety of reasons. 

Philadelphia I say will be around 25-30 wins (Right now I’ll say 26), which is good enough to potentially use the Kings’ swap that they own to move up in the 2017 lottery. The Kings are completely dysfunctional, especially with DeMarcus Cousins on the roster for now. In my eyes, they are a lock for the lottery. 

Plus, you throw in the Lakers’ first rounder that hopefully does not fall into the top three again. Luke Walton is at the helm, but a quick fix in LA doesn’t look like it is going to happen.

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Draft Lonzo Ball in 2017 

They did improve with players like Brandon Ingram and some veteran free agents. However, they will be back in the lottery as well.

This potentially lands the Sixers with a pair of Top 5 or Top 10 picks in a pretty deep draft class.

Adding a pair of talented guards to go along with Simmons and company next year will certainly put this team back in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference. 

Here are a 5 names to keep an eye on (Highlight reels are in the link):  

FREE AGENCY

On the free agency front, the Sixers have been relatively quiet. There were rumors with Rajon Rondo and Harrison Barnes, but nothing materialized. Instead the team decided to save their money by signing three veteran guards. The patient approach is the right approach. 

First was Jerryd Bayless, who inked a 3 year, $27 million dollar contract. Bayless is a veteran at the age of 27, who has bounced around during his professional career. With the way contracts were being handed out, this was a good deal for Philadelphia. The team was in desperate need of a point guard who can shoot from the outside (36.5% career 3pt %). He’s not going to win you games, but good in terms of being a catch and shoot player when Simmons brings up the ball. Bayless can run the team for a year or two, until his replacement comes in. Overall, he’s an average player that fits a bunch of needs. 

Sergio Rodriguez is another veteran presence, who has spent time in Europe and the NBA. Signing a one year, $8 million dollar contract tells me that it is an experiment. If it doesn’t workout, then there is no harm in the matter. Rodriguez can stretch the floor, while also providing Brown with another option in the backcourt. 

Lastly is the Episcopal Academy product in Gerald Henderson. The hometown kid was brought in on a two year, $ 18 million dollar deal to play for the Sixers. The glaring weakness was the backcourt, so this makes sense. With the price being right, Henderson will help as another veteran presence who can score. 

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