Predicting the Roles and Impact of Each Philadelphia 76ers Newcomer This Season

The Philadelphia 76ers have more NBA newcomers than a kindergarten class, and finding a role for each of them will be a difficult task.

There are some very important holes for people to step up and fill within Philadelphia’s roster. The team needs another scorer off the bench, a lock-down perimeter defender and some kind of interior presence to name a few.

There happens to be some positive news, though.

Believe it or not, but there’s more than enough firepower in the new talent to come in and fill specific voids. The Sixers’ offseason was dedicated toward finding success in the draft and among undrafted free-agents.

Let’s see how they did by evaluating the impact and roles of Philadelphia’s newcomers for the upcoming season.

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Knicks expected to trade Amar’e Stoudemire to Philadelphia 76ers

Believe it or not, Amar’e to the 76ers is the perfect trade — Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/The Star-Ledger
Amar’e Stoudemire is a series of unfortunate events.
Who would think that the Philadelphia 76ers — or anyone for that matter — would be willing to take on the New York Knicks big man and his anvil of a contract? But alas, reports are coming out that the 76ers want the NBA’s 2nd highest paid player in Stoudemire.
In fact, the trade is perfect — so perfect that Basketball Insiders writer Steve Kyler expects it to happen at the deadline in February.
NBA’s latest quarry — blown to smithereens — needs some filling. The 76ers got so far into exploding their roster they burrowed themselves too deep. In order to meet the cap minimum, they need a big contract like Stoudemire’s. It just so happens that the Knicks want the fire-extinguisher-punching, game-missing power forward out of town.
If Phil Jackson wants change in New York, it means the departure of Stoudemire. Right now, Jackson

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Philadelphia 76ers: Deal for Amar’e Stoudemire Might Come at Trade Deadline

Amar’e Stoudemire has one year left on the max deal he signed with the New York Knicks in 2010, and is set to make $23-million.
A handful of injuries have hindered his on court performance, but he’s still garnering some attention from other teams around the league. The Philadelphia 76ers have interest in acquiring the former All Star power forward, even if the deal has to wait until the trade deadline.
From Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:
What’s far more likely is that the long rumored Amar’e Stoudemire to Philadelphia deal gets done at the deadline. The Sixers take on Stoudemire’s $23 million salary cap number, which pushes them way over the minimum. They would only owe him roughly 30 percent of his remaining contract, so they’d end up paying him $7 million in cash and likely extract a draft pick or a rookie scale player for their troubles.
Flexibility in the NBA is currency – both figuratively and literally. The 76ers will likely meet the floor; they just are not incentivized …

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Philadelphia 76ers: What Is The 76ers’ Biggest Weakness?

Philadelphia 76ers: What Is The 76ers’ Biggest Weakness?
By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff…
With a team that’s so young about to become even less experienced as they are likely to be part of the Kevin Love trade and should be trading Thaddeus Young for Anthony Bennett, they are just too inexperienced. They are 3-4 seasons from competing and that is their biggest weakness.
Assuming they trade Young for Bennett, here is what the core of their franchise will look like.
Michael Carter Williams- 21
Joel Embiid- 19
Nerlens Noel- 20
Anthony Bennett- 20
Dario Saric- 20
That is a ridiculously talented young team and there is a chance that they could have the 3 best players from the Michael Carter Williams draft; MCW, Noel and Bennett. Also Embiid was considered the best player by many in this offseason’s very talented draft and Saric is considered one of the most talented players in Europe, so they have the foundation for an elite NBA team. However, besides for MCW the learning …

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Early Win-Loss Predictions for Philadelphia 76ers Next Season

The 2014-15 Philadelphia 76ers aren’t going to shatter the very low expectations set for them this year by those around the league, not by a long shot. But there is some opportunity for improvement. 

Last season, one of the most dismal in franchise history, saw first-round pick Nerlens Noel sidelined for the entire year while rehabilitating a torn ACL. New head coach Brett Brown guided his young team, led by veteran Thaddeus Young and eventual Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams to a 19-63 record, second-worst in the NBA

The ensuing offseason didn’t inspire much optimism for the upcoming year, either. In a draft that was being billed as franchise-defining, the 76ers selected two players in the first round, Kansas center Joel Embiid and Croatian forward Dario Saric, who won’t touch the court at all this season. 

Embiid and Saric, both talented prospects who could inject serious energy and most importantly talent to a severely diluted roster, will prove their worth over time. But for now, with the upcoming season mere months away and Eastern Conference foes stacking their rosters in preparation for playoff pushes, the 2014-15 76ers’ fate looks about as grim as last year’s version. 

Growth and development may come this season, just don’t expect many wins during the process. Here’s where they stand in the reconstructed Eastern Conference. 

 

New Additions

There were certain draft selections who will actually make an impact this season, most notably K.J. McDaniels.

The 6’6″ swingman with elite defensive prowess and a developing three-point shot is in line to play major minutes. The former ACC Defensive Player of the Year is a handful on the perimeter. He led the ACC in blocks (2.8) and defensive win shares (3.1) last season per Basketball Reference

Fellow second-round picks Jerami Grant and Jordan McRae should factor into the new rotation as well. Grant is a rangy forward with explosive athleticism but is still adjusting to the pro game. He struggled mightily at times during summer league but showed flashes of his potential with thunderous dunks and blocked shots. 

McRae came out of nowhere to lead the team in scoring while in Las Vegas this summer. The Tennessee product can provide some much-needed offense to a team which finished last in three-point percentage and 28th in field-goal percentage last season. 

Local product Ronald Roberts, Jr. from Saint Joseph’s University has reportedly signed a three-year deal per Sportando to help bolster the frontcourt. The undrafted Roberts was impressive in Orlando this summer, averaging 10.2 points and 7.4 rebounds a game on 65 percent shooting. 

But of course, the most notable addition to this year’s roster is Noel, who made it through both summer league stints healthy. He confirmed 18 months’ worth of scouting reports read ad nauseam by excited 76ers fans clamoring for a glimpse of him in red, white and blue—elite shot-blocker, a long, explosive defender and a raw offensive repertoire. 

Noel, the talented second-rounders and potentially more on the way can only help a frontcourt which finished 26th in blocked shots and 19th in defensive rebounds last year. 

It’s been a long road back for Noel, who opened up to CBS Sports’ James Herbert in an enlightening Q&A last week. He’s motivated, and perhaps flying under the radar a bit since he’s been out of the spotlight for a year:

There’s been a lot of doubters. I’ve just really been working as hard as I can to be able to prove myself as a young player in this league that can contribute sooner than later. It is what it is, with what’s being said now. I understand that I wasn’t drafted in this draft class, so I won’t be talked about now, but it’s fine. I’m just going to go into this season with the mindset of contributing to my team and establishing myself.

His long-term health remains paramount to any big picture plans this organization has. He’s one of the cornerstone pieces and needs to make it through the season unscathed. 

 

Wide Open East

Of course, the biggest offseason move in the NBA was LeBron James signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, opting out of his contract with the Miami Heat to return to his Ohio roots. 

This sent shockwaves to all corners of the league, starting a domino effect of player signings. Chris Bosh re-signed with the Miami Heat to max money, with Dwyane Wade and others joining him. Marcin Gortat re-signed with the Washington Wizards, hoping to capitalize on last year’s playoff appearances. 

The Chicago Bulls signed Pau Gasol and brought over European sensation Nikola Mirotic to pair with Joakim Noah and a healthy—we hope—Derrick Rose. The Charlotte Hornets signed Lance Stephenson and Marvin Williams and drafted Noah Vonleh and P.J. Hairston

And we didn’t even get to the Brooklyn Nets who still sport one of the league’s most expensive payrolls, the Toronto Raptors who re-signed Kyle Lowry and the Atlanta Hawks who add a healthy Al Horford to a team which gave the Indiana Pacers fits in the playoffs last season. 

The much maligned Eastern Conference no longer has a runaway favorite in Miami thanks to the King’s departure and parody abounds. While any team could certainly make a leap into one of the remaining playoff spots—Carmelo Anthony’s New York Knicks, the Detroit Pistons under new coach Stan Van Gundy or perhaps the Paul George-less Indiana Pacers hold on to the final spot—it certainly won’t be the 76ers. 

While most of the East’s best reside in the Central (Chicago, Cleveland) and Southeast (Washington, Miami, Atlanta, Charlotte) divisions, even an improved 76ers team doesn’t have the talent to compete with the upstart Raptors or the veterans in Brooklyn within the Atlantic division for a playoff spot.  

 

Prediction

Assuming all the best—continued development of Carter-Williams, 82 games for Noel, the emergence of McDaniels—the 76ers are no more than a 30-win team. That’s the best-case, dream scenario for Philly—noticeable improvement, but a record still poor enough to earn another lottery pick. 

In reality, I see them more in the 20-25-win range. Carter-Williams will be aided by the presence of Noel, but he’ll still go through his growing pains. His 40 percent shooting from the field and 26 percent from three-point range won’t turn around overnight.

Noel is an excellent shot-blocker but has a lot to prove with his rebounding and interior offense. We’ll learn more about him in the early part of the season with matchups against Roy Hibbert, Joakim Noah, Dwight Howard (twice) and Tim Duncan all before the end of November.

It will be a tough season, another learning experience in the long rebuilding process orchestrated by Sam Hinkie. The good news though, is there will be help on the horizon. A few skilled 7-footers are waiting in the wings. They, and 76ers fans everywhere, are just going to have to wait at least another year. 

Projected Record: 22-60, Last in Atlantic division, Last in Eastern Conference

 

Follow Stephen on Twitter for more hoops discussion. 

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Ranking Philadelphia 76ers’ Most Believable 2014 NBA Free Agency Rumors

The Philadelphia 76ers have a king’s ransom in cap space to throw at free agents, but the chances of general manager Sam Hinkie splurging on the open market this summer are extremely small.

By all accounts, 2014-15 will be a throwaway year. Joel Embiid, the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, may miss the entire season with a fractured navicular bone in his right foot, per ESPN.com. Philadelphia’s No. 10 pick, Elfrid Payton, was traded to the Orlando Magic on draft night in a deal for Dario Saric, who isn’t expected to play in the NBA for another two years after electing to stay in Europe

Gaining further financial leverage, as well as accumulating draft picks, is the name of the game. The 76ers aren’t in a position to make a gargantuan leap in the standings. It’s going to require an investment of patience from players and fans alike for this experiment to work. 

A combination of Embiid and Nerlens Noel—who missed all of last season recovering from knee surgery—in the frontcourt has the potential to do great things.

Banking on two highly touted big men who are entering the league with a slew of injury concerns is undoubtedly a risky proposition, though. Noel is looking good in his pre-summer league workouts, per Philly.com, which should put smiles on many a face in the City of Brotherly Love.

Guard Michael Carter-Williams was named 2014 NBA Rookie of the Year after leading all rookies in scoring (16.7), rebounding (6.3) and assists (6.2). He became the first player since Alvan Adams in 1975-76 to accomplish such a feat.

Even so, concerns remain over his struggles shooting the basketball (40.5 percent from the field), as well as his proneness for turning it over (3.5 turnovers, fifth in the NBA). There were even rumors prior to the draft that the 76ers could deal Carter-Wiliams and use one of their lottery picks to select a more legitimate point guard, per Pro Basketball Talk

The team has some pieces to work with in second-round picks K.J. McDaniels (No. 32), Jerami Grant (No. 39) and Jordan McRae (No. 58 by San Antonio, traded to Philadelphia for cash), but none of them inspire much confidence at this point in time.

James Anderson, Philadelphia’s fifth-leading scorer (10.1) and the only player on the team to compete in at least 80 games, was waived on June 30, per NBA.com. Forward Byron Mullens did not pick up his player option and will become a free agent, per Kyle Neubeck of Liberty Ballers.

There are just far too many question marks surrounding the franchise at the moment. All fans can do is follow Hinkie blindly, as he continues to lay the groundwork for a more prosperous future, whenever that may be. 

Until then, don’t hold your breath for any big splashes in free agency over the next several months. 

 

3. Jordan Hill in the 76ers’ Frontcourt

Every team in the NBA needs a player like Jordan Hill on their roster. Rebounding, interior defense and oodles and oodles of energy is how Hill makes his living.

Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com mentioned Philadelphia as a likely destination for the 6’10″ center when ranking his top 25 available free agents

21. Jordan Hill, L.A. Lakers

Hill isn’t a household name, but he is an athletic big-man who can rebound — the type of player that will always have a job in the NBA.

Most likely destinations: Washington, Philadelphia, New York

Hill saw plenty of minutes in the Lakers’ rotation, with Pau Gasol missing 22 games, although his role became limited when the Spaniard was healthy. He still managed to average career highs across the board with 9.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks. 

If it’s playing time he wants, than it’s playing-time he’s going to get in Philadelphia. The rookie Noel will need a strong body like Hill’s alongside him in the frontcourt to help hold down the paint and take some of the pressure off on the defensive end. 

The problem is that several other teams understand what Hill brings to the table and will be making offers of their own. According to Mark Medina of InsideSocial.com, the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics are all in the “Jordan Hill Sweepstakes.”

One can only assume that winning will play a factor in his decision, but if Hill weighs playing time and a decent chunk of change in his bank account more than anything else, perhaps he should listen to what Hinkie (potentially) has to say. 

 

2. Strong Interest in Kent Bazemore

An impressive 23-game stretch with the Los Angeles Lakers has the 76ers pining for guard Kent Bazemore, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders

Bazemore was traded, along with MarShon Brooks, from the Golden State Warriors to the Lakers for Steve Blake on Feb. 19, 2014. He scored in double figures in 12 of his first 13 games with the team after reaching that mark on just two occasions prior to that.

As a Laker, Bazemore averaged 13.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals, while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from behind the arc. 

He missed the final few games of the regular season with a torn tendon in his right foot, although he is expected to be at 100 percent for training camp. 

According to Kennedy, the 76ers aren’t alone in their pursuit of Bazemore. The Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, Utah Jazz, Mavericks and Phoenix Suns have all made inquiries about the 6’5″ guard. 

With the 76ers’ biggest need being at shooting guard, Bazemore could step right in and be a cheap option to fill the void. He’s only 25 years old. It would be a low risk, high reward signing that wouldn’t dig too deep into their salary cap. 

 

1. Houston Rockets Trading Jeremy Lin to Philadelphia

According to a report by Jake Fischer of SB Nation, the 76ers and Houston Rockets are currently engaging in trade talks that would send Jeremy Lin back to the Eastern Conference. 

Lin is owed $8.37 million in the final year of a three-year, $25.1 million deal he signed with the Rockets in 2012.

With Houston GM Daryl Morey in hot pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, ridding himself of Lin’s contract would go a long way toward snatching up the seven-time NBA All-Star.

The team has essentially backed themselves into a corner with Lin by showcasing Anthony in a No. 7 jersey (Lin’s number) outside of the Toyota Center, per the New York Daily News

In 71 games last season, Lin averaged 12.5 points on 44.6 percent shooting from the field, including 4.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 28.9 minutes, splitting time with Patrick Beverley in the starting lineup. 

Lin would likely back up Carter-Williams for the second unit if a move were made. He could even play off-ball at shooting guard if the 76ers can’t find a credible option at the 2 spot. 

If he proves his worth, chances are the team could sign him on the cheap when his contract comes off the books. 

Hinkie would need to force the Rockets into parting ways with a draft pick or two, though. An expiring deal like Lin’s is obviously valuable to a rebuilding team, but with Houston in a nearly desperate state, Hinkie would hold all the cards. 

 

All statistics are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com

Christopher Walder is a freelance writer who has been published at Bleacher Report, SB Nation, FanSided, SI.com and several other online outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @WalderSports.

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Philadelphia 76ers 2014 NBA Free-Agency Big Board: Top Targets Post-Draft

Sam Hinkie is a patient man.

On June 26, the Philadelphia 76ers general manager turned the third- and tenth-overall selections in the NBA Draft into Joel Embiid and—after a bit of transactional jujitsu—Dario Saric.

The two young men have very different skill sets, but one very consequential thing in common: It’s almost certain that neither will play in the NBA in 2014-15.

Embiid is likely to miss the season with a fractured navicular bone in his right foot while Saric is contractually obligated to play his pro ball in Croatia for at least the next two years. For the 2014-15 Sixers, help is not on the way.

This considered, it seems unlikely Philadelphia will make much noise on the market this summer.

What’s the point?

For a team so wholly committed to building through the draft—through the lottery—there isn’t much utility in adding immediately helpful players in free agency. Not yet, anyway.

For, say, the Chicago Bulls, improving by six or seven wins could mean the difference between an Eastern Conference title and another lost season. For the Sixers, it just means a lower draft pick.

So the tank is on for Philadelphia. Again.

That said, the Sixers will have to do something in free agency. There are games to be played—and lost—and a group of young men will have to be in uniform to do the playing and the losing.

Here are a few of the young men the Sixers may consider.

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Joel Embiid Makes a Polite Pitch to LeBron James to Sign with Philadelphia 76ers

LeBron James is in the process of choosing what team he wants to play for next season, and some squads have a better chance than others to land him. Even if a team isn’t likely to land the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, it can still try to make a pitch to him.

The Philadelphia 76ers, who won a grand total of 19 games in 2013-14, don’t exactly jump out as a logical landing spot for James. That isn’t stopping new Philadelphia center Joel Embiid, whom the team selected with the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, from making a pitch to the free agent:

Don’t hold your breath on that one, Embiid.

Nobody knows how long Embiid will be out while recovering from his recent foot surgery. Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie told reporters that the franchise will focus on the long-term health of the big man, leading to speculation that he could miss the entire season. 

That unknown will certainly hurt Philadelphia’s chancesif it has any at allof landing James. 

[Joel Embiid]

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Will Philadelphia 76ers Tank Again After Win-Later Draft Picks?

Some Philadelphia 76ers fans aren’t going to like this, but it’s probably for the best.

And, either way, it’s inevitable.

General manager Sam Hinkie fired an unmistakable message across the NBA‘s bow on Thursday, taking Joel Embiid with the No. 3-overall pick and functionally guaranteeing that the Sixers will be really bad for at least another season, maybe longer.

It’s not Embiid‘s fault, of course. He just happens to be injured, and it may take him all season to recover from surgery to fix a stress fracture in his foot. Philly is going to approach his situation much as it approached Nerlens Noel’s last season—patiently and deliberately.

According to NJ.com’s Matt Lombardo, “Hinkie outlined a similar plan for Embiid to the one that allowed Noel to miss an entire season in order to fully rehab before making his anticipated debut this summer in the Orlando Summer league.”

“I’ve seen reported some four to six months [for Embiid],” Hinkie said, per Lombardo. “That’s not the number I heard. The number I heard from the surgeon himself was five to eight months.

Hinkie added, “We will focus on the long-term health of the player. That’s all that matters. Will we be smart about that? Of course. Will we be patient? Yes. If he can remain healthy, he can have a fantastic NBA career.”

But Embiid‘s absence isn’t the only reason Philadelphia will struggle.

The team also acquired Dario Saric in the first round, and he won’t make it to the NBA for another two years at the very soonest.

These are the kind of moves that make a lot of sense from a long-term perspective. They’re just going to be awfully painful in the meantime.

While Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams will now be joined by a healthy Nerlens Noel, the 76ers still have precious little in terms of NBA-ready talent.

Hinkie wouldn’t have it any other way. Such is the logic of tanking. Why waste just one season when you can multiply the dividends by doing so again in 2014-15, likely yielding another premium draft pick in the process?

Again, it won’t be pretty. 

In theory, Philadelphia could use its wealth of cap space to pursue virtually any free agent of its choice. At the moment, the organization has just over $25.8 million in salaries on the books for next season. That number will increase before all is said and done, but it almost certainly won’t increase on account of adding someone like Carmelo Anthony.

Even if Anthony were somehow interested in helping the 76ers turn things around, that’s not the path Hinkie‘s taking.

He’s building this team from the ground up, accruing as many assets as possible and watching them mature into something valuable. It’s the same strategy adopted by Hinkie‘s mentor, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

Though the Rockets never sank to Sixers-like depths, the principles remain the same. Acquire as many draft picks and prospects as possible. They’ll either develop into serviceable in-house talent (e.g., Chandler Parsons) or eventually translate into trade bait that can land veteran talent (e.g., James Harden).

Assigning value to Philadelphia’s assets is difficult at the moment, suggesting it will be another season or two before these tactics come full circle. But once guys like Noel and Embiid have established their worth, Hinkie will have options at his disposal.

And options are a good thing.

I think there’ll be a lot of opportunities for us (with cap space, via trades, free agency),” Hinkie told reporters on Friday. “I think we’ll be open-minded.”

You kind of have to be open-minded to stomach another season of league-worst basketball. 

We probably should have seen it coming, too. When Philadelphia parted ways with leading scorer Evan Turner midway through the 2013-14 campaign, it became abundantly clear that this franchise wasn’t about winning—it was about building an actual winner.

Consider the alternative.  

Philadelphia could overspend on second-tier free agents. It could have drafted a healthy prospect like Dante Exum. It could trade draft picks for veterans who are ready to contribute. The organization could do any number of things to improve immediately.

And where would it get them?

The Charlotte Hornets signed Al Jefferson, and it got them to the first round. The Phoenix Suns assembled a pretty talented squad last season and almost made the playoffs. The Atlanta Hawks added Paul Millsap and managed to secure the eighth seed.

None of those teams, however, are positioned for the long-term like Philadelphia is. None of those teams can boast the possibility of having two, young elite big men at their disposal when 2015-16 rolls around. None of those teams are likely to snag another top-five draft pick next summer.

The choice is between a middling existence and one that’s capable of actually winning a championship.

Remember how far away the Oklahoma City Thunder once looked from such lofty goals. Things can change fast in this business, especially when franchises are unequivocally committed to delayed gratification. 

The Sixers will wait. And it will hurt.

But don’t be surprised if they have the last laugh.

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What Offseason Moves Are Next for Philadelphia 76ers with NBA Draft Complete?

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie, the architect behind the organization’s massive rebuilding project, has maintained that this painstaking process will take some time. 

When All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday was traded for Nerlens Noel and a future first-round pick at last year’s draft, the first jab was thrown. The trades and the dumping of assets that followed during the ensuing season built up to the loaded 2014 draft—with two lottery picks, seven total—for Hinkie‘s eventual knockout blow. 

But instead of unleashing a devastating haymaker, he threw a few more body shots. 

With the No. 3 pick, Philly selected Joel Embiid, the bruised and battered 7-footer. He was penciled in as the first overall pick barely a week ago before surgery on his foot’s navicular bone was performed.

Then at No. 10, the 76ers drafted University of Louisiana-Lafayette point guard Elfrid Payton, who they parlayed to Orlando for the rights to Dario Saric, a 2017 first-round pick and a 2015 second-rounder. More body blows. 

Assuming Embiid‘s foot heals properly and remains healthy, he has arguably the highest ceiling of anyone in this draft. This is a guy who was the consensus No. 1 pick just a few short weeks ago. Assuming Saric is the skilled big man with top-10 talent everyone is confident he is, then he would form a tremendous frontcourt with Embiid and Noel. 

Then Hinkie can come out of the corner wailing away on the rest of the NBA

Until then, the 76ers are firmly in asset acquisition mode. They are strategically sticking and moving. Hinkie and the front office won’t see the fruits of their labor for a while, and until then, they will continue stockpiling young talent and tinkering their roster one piece at a time.

With the draft in the rearview mirror, the offseason is in full swing, and there are still plenty of moves to make before the 2014-15 season tips off. So many more punches to throw. 

 

Deciding Who Returns

The 76ers paraded players on 10-day contracts through the Wells Fargo Center all last season. They plunged through the NBA scrap heap to find potential diamonds in the rough, and some of them actually started to shine if you held them in just the right light. 

There are a handful of contributors from last year whose contracts for this season are not guaranteed, and decisions need to be made regarding their futures. 

Henry Sims and Hollis Thompson played well enough last year to warrant a return. Thompson has good size at 6’8″ and shot 40 percent from three-point range. Sims came to Philly from Cleveland as basically a throw-in from the Spencer Hawes trade and gave the team solid minutes. He averaged 11 points and seven boards in 26 games. Both have a long way to go but show promise.

Veteran James Anderson started 62 games last season, but with Jason Richardson exercising his $6.6 million player option, it’s unclear if he’ll be in play at the 2-guard spot this year.

Elliot Williams, the 6’5″ guard who played in 67 games last season, could find himself on the outside looking in also. Brigham Young’s Brandon Davies is in the same boat. 

The roster is a revolving door. Hinkie will plug and play guys until he finds something that works, and that starts with figuring out who from last year is worth holding on to. 

 

Assess the Free-Agent Market

Even in a perfect world where Embiid, Noel and Saric were all playing together next season alongside Michael Carter-Williams, you’d still notice a glaring hole in Philly’s roster—wing players who can score. 

Second-round picks K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant will get ample playing time, but their contributions will mostly be seen on the defensive end and on fast breaks. Neither one can really create offense for themselves or are knockdown shooters. 

The 76ers have so much cap space they don’t know what to do with it. Not factoring in Embiid‘s or any of their second-round picks’ salaries, Philly has just over $30 million committed to a salary cap that’s expected to increase to $63.2 million this upcoming season, per ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.

While the 76ers have remained steadfast in their plan for building a long-term championship contender, it would behoove them to at least peruse the market and see if some of this available money would be best served at acquiring a young wing. 

Guys like Eric Bledsoe and Kyle Lowry, while very dynamic and explosive, will probably demand salaries too rich for Hinkie‘s taste when free agency begins on July 1. Utah guard Gordon Hayward could be a fit, coming off a career-high 16 points a game last year. The versatile but unpredictable Lance Stephenson is available, but I doubt Hinkie pursues him. 

At the next tier down, there are guys like Jordan Crawford, Avery Bradley and the immortal Nick Young, who could all be had for much cheaper and can contribute offensively.

Bradley is an intriguing name. The 23-year-old is coming off his best year as a pro, having averaged 14 points per game while shooting over 39 percent from three-point range. 

 

Exercise Extreme Patience

Any possibility of the 76ers making tangible strides this season with the addition of two ready-to-roll lottery picks was shot down when Hinkie drafted injured center Embiid and Croatian stash forward Saric

Hinkie said in his press conference Friday that Embiid‘s recovery timeline is five to eight months, more than the four to six that was originally reported, per CSNPhilly.com

“Timeframe—I’ve seen reported some four to six months—that’s not the number that I’ve heard,” Hinkie said. “The number that I’ve heard from the surgeon himself was five to eight months.”

This marks the third year in a row that a new, franchise-altering center will spend a season on the bench. The 76ers plan on being extra cautious with Embiid, as they should, so don’t expect to see him on the court anytime soon.

It’s the best thing for the long-term health of the player and the greater good of the 76ers. Embiid is a cornerstone piece, and they need to do everything in their power to make sure he’s the great player they drafted him to be. 

Saric, on the other hand, just inked a new three-year deal with Turkish powerhouse Anadolu Efes, per ESPN.com’s Chad Ford. According to the report, Saric won’t be able to join the 76ers for at least two years, when he gets a buyout option. 

The versatile 6’10″ forward, who compared his game to that of fellow lefties Lamar Odom and Toni Kukoc, will be a welcome addition when he finally arrives. 

Once all these long-term assets finally come together and are joined by future draft picks, the 76ers will finally cash in their chips and be ready to push the table limits. For now, they are saddled with Rookie of the Year Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young and Noel leading a cast of misfits and afterthoughts through another difficult season, taking plenty of lumps along the way.

 

Salary information courtesy of ShamSports. Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference

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