The 2014 NBA Draft and the major wave of free agent signings are now behind us. The Sixers were unsuccessful in obtaining the two biggest names in basketball this summer: LeBron James and Andrew Wiggins. Both found their way to Cleveland to the chagrin of many Philadelphia faithful. So far during the offseason, the 76ers have acquired five players who are eligible to play in the NBA next season.
Out of those five, Joel Embiid will be the only player to have a guaranteed contract next season with Saric playing overseas. Four were second-round picks, which include K.J. McDaniels, Jeremi Grant and Jordan McRae. Pierre Jackson was acquired by Philly in a trade, but will likely not make the team since he had an Achilles injury in his first summer league game.
This leaves an opportunity for the new players and other young guys on the current roster to step up their game next season. Last year, guards Tony Wroten and Hollis Thompson both showed flashes of excitement. Wroten, a 6-6-combo guard, showed that he knows how to play the game of basketball and can run with the best guards in the league. He was snubbed in last year’s rookie-sophomore game during All-Star Weekend even though his stats were much higher than other players who made the team.
Thompson, last years 6-foot-8 undrafted rookie, was not even expected to make the squad in 2013, let alone start in 41 games. He has come into this year’s summer league looking bigger. In an interview with Bob Cooney, Thompson said that his shooting ability has not been affected by his quick muscle gain.
Along with this years rookies and other young players trying to make a push in Summer League, look for players such as Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and Thaddeus Young to really show they can be successful in the league and lead the team next season.
Michael Carter-Williams had a huge year last year. Commanding his team to a 3-0 start and leading all rookies in points, steals and assists as well as earning the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award. MCW was the second 76er in franchise history to win the award, next to Allen Iverson. He showed that he will have a chance to be a special player in this league for years to come.
The No. 6 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft that came to Philly via trade — center Nerlens Noel — has been nothing but spectacular in the Summer League thus far on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. After sitting out his entire rookie season in 2013-2014, he is eager to get onto the court in October.
The current face of the 76ers, Thaddeus Young, has been mentioned in trade rumors for what seems like an eternity, but he is still a member of the team, and will most likely remain at the start of the season. Believing that he would be moved during last seasons trade deadline had no bearing on his on court play.
Thad is a player who goes out every night and gives it his all. Any championship caliber team would want a player like Young. He is 26-years-old and going into his eighth season in the NBA. He is at the prime of his career and he wants to have a chance to win. Since this will most likely not happen in Philly for many years to come, Thad will likely get traded during the season.
The 76ers will be an interesting team to watch this year, and all fans can hope for is to witness some more signs of potential and greatness for these very young players.
The Sixers were named champions of the Orlando Summer League last week with a win over the Orlando Magic and will continue to play in the Las Vegas Summer League. While this will be another tough year to watch, having Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams in place should make it a little more fun to watch compared to last season.