Season Preview: Philadelphia 76ers

As a site, we ranked all the NBA teams from worst to best for our release of season previews. Corey Bourassa starts our daily release of a season preview with the Philadelphia 76er’s. Bourassa provides a recap of their past season, an offseason recap, and then finally the season preview all of us fans are eager for. 

Philadelphia 76ers:

Last Year’s Record: 18-64

Playoff Status: Missed playoffs

The 2014-2015 season was another forgetful one for the Philadelphia 76ers. Under their current rebuilding scheme, Philadelphia is trying to lose as many games as possible, in a hope to get a high draft pick to try and acquire a young star. This plan was aided by the fact, their 2014 first round pick, Joel Embiid was going to miss the entire season, while rehabbing his foot. Philadelphia seemed to have a good young duo in Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel, but at the trade deadline, Philadelphia thought otherwise and traded the 2013 Rookie of the Year to Milwaukee. Philadelphia also traded away a promising defensive stalwart in K.J. McDaniels. Many people question the motive for these trades, but as any 76er’s fan will tell you, “In Hinkie we trust”. Without these two young players helping contribute, Philadelphia’s back court was a disaster, and their perimeter defense fell apart. Nerlens Noel still performed at a high rookie level, and was a top candidate for Rookie of the Year. With the season over, Philadelphia was going into the offseason with hopes of another high draft pick, and looking to add future draft picks with salary absorption, or other forms of trades.

Heading into the offseason, Philadelphia has a hole at nearly every roster spot, except of course center. Philadelphia is in need of shooters, guards, forwards, and better defense and offense efficiency. Heading into the draft, rumors swirled of the 76er’s love for Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell. Unfortunately for the 76er’s organization, Russell was snagged second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, and now many questions surfaced for the 76ers. Now being on the clock, many did not expect the 76ers to draft another center, but instead, Philadelphia drafted Jahlil Okafor. Although this pick is a confusing one, Philadelphia took the best player available, and now have a trio at the center position, which gives them the opportunity to explore trades to fill out the rest of their roster. Many believed the 76ers would trade Noel, Okafor, or Embiid but kept them all, due to the fact Joel Embiid is out for another full season with the same injury injury. Philadelphia added a few more big men in the second round, most notable Richaun Holmes, who has the potential to be a steal, and provide great energy off the bench in his rookie season. 

During free agency, the 76ers made a trade with the Sacramento Kings that sent Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry to Philadelphia, for a way for Sacramento to clear up cap space, as they acquired the rights to international players, Luka Mitrovic and Arturas Gudaitis. The 76ers also have the ability to switch their 1st round picks in 2016 and 2017 with the Kings, which are not protected, so they can become lottery picks based on how each team plays this season, as well as rights to a future first round pick. Another trade happened between the Warriors and 76ers. This trade sent Jason Thompson to the Warriors and Gerald Wallace to the 76ers. After these small moves, free agency was a quiet one for the 76ers. The only move left for Philadelphia, is their ability to sign point guard Norris Cole. Philadelphia, as they let their drafts picks develop into hopeful stars, will have to wait till next summer for a bigger splash in free agency. 

This season is going to be yet another lost season for the players, coaches, and fans. Philadelphia looks to continue losing for the chance of higher draft picks. Philadelphia looks to have their frontcourt set, with the pairing of Noel and Okafor. Okafor is looked at as an early favorite for Rookie of the Year, and holding the job of being the offensive go-to-man. Noel will need to continue his development on the offensive side of the ball, but the main thing he will be asked of is his defense awareness, as Philadelphia will need him to protect the rim at a high level. Robert Covington is going to be looked upon to continue his development, and hold down the starting small forward position, as well as provide outside shooting, while Philadelphia waits to add 2013 first round pick Dario Saric next season, who will be a huge boost to their development. The back court is the biggest question mark for the organization, as the starters right now are Tony Wroten and Hollis Thompson, with their back-ups being Isaiah Canaan and Nik Stauskas. Wroten is an electric scorer, but suffers from his inability to control his turnovers, while Canaan does not look to have the ability to be a full time starter, and looks to have a career as a offensive bench piece. Thompson provides the 76er’s with the consistent outside shooter that they need, but his lack of confidence, could pose a threat to his development, and cost the 76er’s wins. Stauskas never found himself in Sacramento. He was suppose to push, and beat out Ben McLemore for the starting position, but his lack of confidence, and ability to consistently hit the three ball, left him getting fewer and fewer minutes. With the 76er’s in such a state of losing, the hope is, Stauskas finds his shot, and can become a offensive bench piece for the 76ers in the near future. Jerami Grant, Richaun Holmes, and Pierre Jackson, look to give Philadelphia even more interesting young bench depth to work with. This season may not consistent of a lot of winning basketball, but the most important thing for this organization is the development of Okafor and Noel, as well as the health of their other big man Embiid. Expect their to be rumors this season around all three of these big men, as Philadelphia looks to add more draft picks, who fit their scheme better. Noel has received the most attention, as many teams are still desperate for a rim protector, but he will not come cheap, due to his rising overall game. Next year’s draft holds a potential super star in Ben Simmons, and with a need at the small forward position, Philadelphia might be in the perfect position to land his services. As always, talks will be about development and the future in Philadelphia, as this franchise looks to compete for titles in three to four years.

By: Corey Bourassa

Edited By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17

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