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Sunday, October 26, 2014

SDH's 2014/2015 NBA Worst to First Previews and Predictions: 26. Philadelphia 76ers

Overall Win/Loss Record :  19-63  fifth place Atlantic Division

2014/2015 Projection: 30-52, fourth place Atlantic Division, thirteenth place Eastern Conference

Preseason Rank

Last season’s Team Statistics and League Rank
  • Points Scored: 99.5 (19th)
  • Points Allowed: 109.9 (30th)
  • Team FG%: .435 (29th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .471 (28th)
  • Team FT%: .710 (29th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .312 (30th)
  • Rebounds per game: 42.7 (15th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 46.9 (29th)
  • Turnovers per game: 16.4 (30th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 16.2 (1st)

Returning Individual Statistical Leaders
  • Scoring (ppg): Michael Carter-Williams (16.7)
  • Rebounds per game:  Henry Sims (7.0)
  • Minutes per game: Michael Carter-Williams (34.5)
  • Assists per game: Michael Carter-Williams (6.3)
  • Field Goal Percentage: Henry Sims (.489)
  • Free Throw Percentage:  Arnet Moultrie (.800)     
  • Three Point FG Percentage: Hollis Thompson (.401)
  • Steals per game: Michael Carter-Williams (1.9)
  • Blocked Shots per game: Michael Carter-Williams (0.6)

Projected Opening Day Starters Based on Past Performance and Potential Impact:

Key Reserves Rank Based on Past Performance and Potential Impact:
  1. Alexey Shved (G)
  2. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (F)
  3. KJ McDaniels (G/F)
  4. Arnet Moultrie (F)
  5. Jerami Grant (F)

To write about the Philadelphia 76ers is a effort of futility because there is virtually nothing positive that can be said about this time.  Here is a team whose primary motivation is to lose as many games as possible so they can stock up as many first round picks in which no one knows what they will do with exactly and fool people into thinking that they are actually building towards something.  It is teams like Philly who make people want to reform the +NBA lottery process or do away with it altogether because the Sixers have blatantly abused a system that was meant to bring parity to the league allowing losing teams to chance to build with superstar talent.  Unfortunately, now the Sixers have virtually gone too far as they have gone about a strategy to be as terrible as possible, place a bunch of risky bets on the court and hope one of them pans out.  In fact the situation has gotten so bad that maybe Philly should think of changing its name from the "Seventy Sixers" to the "Severely Sickening" because just simply writing this paragraph is a test in physical resiliency in trying not to throw up while typing.

Last season was an absolute disgrace where the Sixers made no denial of completely throwing the season in order to secure the number one pick of this year's draft.  Thank goodness their efforts were thwarted as a more deserving +Cleveland Cavaliers team, who chose to continue fighting until the very end instead of simply tanking the rest of the season, got the first overall pick in the draft.  Philly still managed to snag the third overall pick in which it used to select +Kansas Jayhawks big man, +Joel Embiid--a pick that many thought was risky due to his history of injuries, but well worth it if he pans out. Unfortunately fate would deal the Sixers a poor hand as Embiid, who the team tabbed as the cornerstone of the franchise, had fallen to injury within of a week or two of being drafted and will most likely miss the entire season. It is important to know, however, that Embiid's missing the season is not so much due to the severity of his injury, but more for the simple reason that the Sixers want to continue their shameful strategy of shamelessly tanking the 2015 season. 

The Sixers will go into the regular season with many of the same ragtag group of rejects and castaways that they had compiled during last season's trade deadline after simply selling off their best players for pennies to the dollar.  They bid farewell to long time player +Thaddeus Young during the off season, sending him to the +Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for two more castaways in Alexy Shved and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.   Both have contracts that will expire at the end of the season so neither one will be expected to finish the season nor will they return if they manage to stay for all 82 games. Sadly, that is the case with all the Sixers--all of whom, with the exception of last season's Rookie of the Michael Carter-Williams and incoming rookie Nerlens Noel, are simply there to take up space in the roster and continue this sham of an NBA season or waste of a good six and a half months.  However, depsite the relatively shallow depth of this roster of refuse, there may a few hidden gems that might just find themselves shining through this toxic sewage of a team and actually become pretty good players down the road.

One of these hidden nuggets is incoming rookie KJ McDaniels, a player that many analysts had being snagged by a team in the early to mid first round, but shocking fell to the second. As can be seen from this scouting report courtesy of +DraftExpress,  Mc Daniels is an athletic freak who is not only a beast on the offensive end, but also quite a pest on the defensive side too and may just find himself in the starting lineup on opening day. Another couple of hidden treasures were undrafted rookies who both hail from the same Alma-mater, +Georgetown University, and had put up rather impressive numbers last season that would make numerous NBA talent scouts take notice.  6' 8" swing man Hollis Thompson gave a solid contribution in 77 games as he averaged six points and three boards per game while shooting a rather consistent .460 from the field with .401 of his shots were made from beyond the arc.  Thompson's fellow Hoya teammate, Henry Sims, also shined quite bright for the Sixers posting a rather impressive 11.8 points and seven boards per game in the 26 games of the season.

Both Thompson and Sims, along with McDaniels, Shved, and the rest of this ragtag crew will have plenty of opportunities to get quality minutes because it is not as if there will be any pressure win, will there?  The fact is that every roster spot save for the starting point guard and center positions which are essentially set in stone with Carter-Williams and Noel will be up for grabs and Coach Brett Brown will be more than happy to simply give as much minutes, touches, and shot attempts to anyone who wants them. After all, it is not as if he has a vested interest in putting forth the best product available or pressure from the front office to even try to be remotely competitive whatsoever.  This season can be essentially considered a washout as many expect much of the same as last season and until the team finds new management that will get it out of this self degrading and self destructive path, this will continue on into next season and the season after that. Predicting thirty wins for this team is certainly quite a stretch considering what was mentioned, but maybe just maybe there will be other NBA teams that will probably out-tank the tankers as the season goes on.