And now, introducing, your 2014-2015 Philadelphia 76ers!
Starting at point guard … Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams!
At shooting guard, Jason Richardson!
At small forward, rookie KJ McDaniels!
At power forward, Thaddeus Young!
And at center, “rookie” Nerlens Noel!
If that isn’t the worst starting lineup in the NBA, it’s near the bottom. Where will the scoring come from? Other than Noel protecting the rim, Young/Richardson are lost defensively. After a 19-win season, the 76ers roster has the look of a team that should scrape together 20-25 wins. There are 22 guys on Philly’s roster right now, and only one of them is over the age of 27 (Richardson). The bench is as thin as Noel’s legs.
Can 76ers fans be patient until at least January? That’s when their 3rd pick from the 2014 draft, Joel Embiid, should be back from his foot injury. Or perhaps Philadelphia does what it did last season – tell Embiid to relax, take a “redshirt” year and be ready for the following season. Frankly, I wouldn’t rule out the redshirt.
I went to Philadelphia last season and wrote about Sam Hinkie’s plan to try and pull off what Daryl Morey has done in Houston. Hinkie wants nothing to do with the middle, which is wise; but in the interim, how will rock bottom sit with 76ers fans who haven’t tasted a trip to the Finals since 2001?
Let me attempt to be positive – let’s say MCW avoids a sophomore slump, Noel is a shot-blocking machine, and Embiid recovers quickly from the foot injury and puts up Anthony Davis rookie numbers (13-8). And let’s say Dario Saric carves up Turkey and looks like the future star many have pegged him to be.
The, the 76ers are players, because they have young talent. The 2015 free agent class has some potential, though some of these guys could fall off the list before the start of next season:
Kyrie Irving (restricted)
Klay Thompson (restricted)
Kawhi Leonard (restricted)
Kenneth Faried (restricted)
Kevin Love (player option)
Brook Lopez (player option)
Al Jefferson (player option)
Enes Kanter (restricted)
Maybe LeBron gets added to this list, but probably not. Could the 76ers turn Noel and Saric into something very attractive? Like Kevin Love? Klay Thompson? An MCW-Embiid pairing appears very exciting, it just lacks a 3rd band member. Who knows, maybe it’s Saric, but he only turned 20 in April.
Philadelphia 76ers fans have nothing to look forward to this season. I suggest getting on the Chip Kelly bandwagon and watching a lot of college basketball – specifically, Arizona’s Stanley Johnson and SMU’s Emmanuel Mudiay.