2013-2014 NBA Preview: Atlantic Division

5 of 5

Oct 14, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) brings the ball up court during the second quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers (12-70)

Before you ask, the answer is no. The 12-70 record projection for the Philadelphia 76ers is, in fact, on purpose, and this roster is as depleted as it would have to be to produce that type of response. Philadelphia is the leading example (in a league full of examples) of a team who is openly tanking for a higher draft pick next year, and for good measure, they are significantly under the league’s salary “floor”, meaning they haven’t spent enough money on their roster to avoid persecution.

There are exactly two guaranteed NBA rotation players on this roster, and they are Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner. Young is a guy that I really enjoy as a versatile combo forward who, at 6-foot-8, averaged 15 points and nearly 8 rebounds per game with a very solid 18.27 PER. He has issues with his jump shot, but Young is easily the best player on this roster, and I almost feel bad for him moving forward.

As for Turner, he’s a guy that I, frankly, can’t stand, but he’s a consummate example of a guy who can do a lot of things, but doesn’t do anything particularly well. Thanks to a miserable 41.9% FG shooting season last year, he was actually below replacement level statistically (yikes), but he’s an exceptional rebounder from a guard spot, and it’s possible that the increased emphasis on his role will actually benefit a guy like Turner, who famously excelled as “the guy” at Ohio State.

Behind them, the cupboard is exceptionally bare. Philly tabbed Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel with their two lottery picks (after dealing away one of the best players, Jrue Holiday), but I don’t expect them to bring much 2013-2014 value. Carter-Williams was a classic “upside” pick as a 6-foot-6, super athletic (but super thin) point guard prospect. He’s extremely raw, but he could be a high-impact defender in a short period of time thanks to his length, and he’s a willing and creative passer.

Noel, who was famously projected as the #1 overall draft pick last season, tore up his knee at Kentucky, and there are even reports circling that he won’t set foot an NBA court this year. Even if he does, the impact will be minimal, as he’s another very raw player with exceptional tools (especially on defense), who wouldn’t be ready to help Philadelphia in a meaningful way, especially if he wasn’t 100% healthy.

The rest of the roster is made up of cast-offs and misfits, with Jason Richardson (who is out with a knee injury), Kwame Brown (who is bad despite being famous), and Spencer Hawes (who I actually like) as the only guys with real NBA experience in a prominent role. There are guys that I enjoy (shout-out to Lavoy Allen), but even the best-case scenario would have Philly winning 20-25 games, and I’m not sure that’s a better direction for the franchise than an absolute bottom-out in an attempt to draft Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or Julius Randle.

It’s going to be a long year in Philly.


Stay tuned for the next installment, as we head to the Eastern Conference!