The Philadelphia 76ers season is right around the corner, expectations are low, but excitement is high. With only on preseason game left the Sixers will either end the preseason 2-5 or 3-5, but no one is concerned because the NBA preseason is well… the preseason.
We’ve seen impressive play from Isaiah Canaan, he has started and played in 4 games and has led the team in time played with 28.5 Minutes Per Game as well as Points per game with 14. Most fans expected to see Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel taking over in the preseason, but it seems that the 76ers are being more conservative with their use of their highly coveted big men. Jahlil is playing less than 20 minutes per game, but looks limber, quick, and athletic, but has been turning the ball over a lot. Nerlens is playing nearly 25 minutes a game, and is putting up Nerlens Noel numbers, almost a double-double, 8.5 rebounds and 13.2 points. Robert Covington has had an interesting role this preseason, he is the only 76er to start in all 6 preseason games, and averaging 13 points per game also.
The 76ers point guard competetion has been intense this preseason between Scottie Wilbekin, Isaiah Canaan, and TJ McConnell. Canaan has started the most games and has been far and away led in playing time, but the underdog Scottie Wilbekin has put up very similar production while playing with lower level players and on average playing 11 less minutes a game. TJ McConnell on the other hand has been given more opportunities to prove himself than Wilbekin, but doesn’t look nearly as good on the court or on paper. We should expect to see some of Scottie Wilbekin off the bench this season, I would like to see more of what he can do in real competition.
This preseason we have obviously not seen Joel Embiid in action, and some people worry that we won’t see him this season. In all honsety I am worried that we will never see him in a regular season NBA game, between injuries, work ethic, gaining weight, and the broken story about his dietary habits and his consumption of “Shirley Temples” I have no faith in ever seeing him play. At least the Sixers have Nik Stauskas and we can pretend that we drafted him in 2014, rather than dwelling on Embiid who very well could be a worse draft pick than Evan Turner and arguably the worst pick in Sixers history.
As for the trade the 76ers made with Kings earlier this off season, we haven’t seen Nik Stauskas this preseason either, but he should be playing early in the regular season if not during the season opener. Not a peep has been made about
veteran Power Forward Carl Landry, nor has he participated in the preseason, it’s been said that he is a leader in the locker room and I imagine he will be a 7th or 8th man on this roster. Also acquired in this deal was Jason Thompson, but weeks after the Sixers organization came out and said “We’re keeping Jason Thompson” they traded him away, which is upsetting because he was a proven player from Philadelphia who actually could’ve been productive. So as for this trade that was supposed to add a couple wins to the Sixers season, I’ve seen no implication of any change to this team, although I am excited for Stauskas’s potential.
The only things to look forward to are the players we haven’t seen yet, Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Tony Wroten (who should be back mid-season), and maybe if a miracle occurs Joel Embiid. Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel will wow us from time to time and maybe someone will prove to be a real NBA player on this roster, but for the most part this is a D-League roster. I am expecting Tony Wroten to add a spark to this team around December, but anyone can get injured at any moment on this roster.
This 76ers team will likely not be a contender, last year they were 18-64, maybe the Sixers will break the seal of 20+ wins this season. I don’t want them to tank in this 2015-2016 season, and I don’t think they really are, they just aren’t good enough to compete in this league right now. I’m not sure what is worse, the Sam Hinkie Era of flopped draft picks and dropping mid-level players or the Igoudala Era of overpaying old mid-level free agents and losing as the eighth seed or missing the playoffs by a few games. This team needs to find a happy medium between the two, because honestly no one is afraid of the 76ers. Sign someone, take a safe draft pick, and wait for Dario Saric to comeover. The Sixers will go 20-62 this season.
Written by: @JpetersTSR