Ah, basketball is back, can’t you smell it in the air? It’s the best of times and the worst of times as some famous person once said a thousand years ago. The 76ers are opening up another season with terrible expectations and there is no Andrew Wiggins in Philadelphia as we all presumed would happen. There isn’t even a first-round pick from the 2014 draft to watch this season on the floor! Oh, but we give you K.J. McDaniels and and and….yeah, McDaniels is the only person on the 76ers 2014 roster that will be playing on opening night, weird right?
Fans of the 76ers spent a lot of time and energy on the 2014 NBA Draft and all we have is K.J. McDaniels? Love the kid and expect a lot from him, but man, that’s scary. However, we all know this is a long-term plan and that Dario Saric and Joel Embiid will join us eventually, but it still stings.
The 76ers roster is comprised of 15 players, who will all be named: Joel Embiid, Michael Carter-Williams, JaKarr Sampson, Brandon (lol) Davies, Nerlens Noel, Tony Wroten, Alexey Shved, Malcolm Thomas, Luc Mbah a Moute, Chris Johnson, Henry Sims, Hollis Thompson, K.J. McDaniels, Jason Richardson, and Jerami Grant.
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All of those guys on the roster are 6’6″ or taller, by the way. This team will be interesting defensively with that length and Noel at the rim.
Joel Embiid and Jason Richardson will miss most of the 2014-15 season with injuries, while Jerami Grant and Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams will be out until sometime in November. Take those names out and there isn’t a lot there. Malcolm Thomas was just signed a few days ago and we covered him from head-to-toe here.
Out of all the players on the roster, the two I’ll be keeping my eyes on the most are Nerlens Noel and K.J. McDaniels. These two have quite a lot to prove, especially McDaniels after signing a one-year, prove it type of deal with the 76ers. Nerlens Noel hasn’t played a lot of basketball in the last two years, but he’s coming into his 76ers debut with lofty expectations and a whole city expecting greatness from the Kentucky product.
Oct 23, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Alexey Shved (88) dribbles the ball down the court during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons beat the Sixers 109-103. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
The names on the Sixers roster may not jump out at you, but if you’re a fan of the team, there are reasons to watch.
It’ll be interesting to see if Hollis Thompson can take some sort of leap and develop into a better player. It would be huge for the squad if Thompson can become a reliable shooter from three for the team.
Alexey Shved is one of those guys that never really put it all together in Minnesota, but he has talent. Tony Wroten is Tony Wroten, but he did average 13 points, 3.2 assists and 3.0 rebounds last season. Wroten was even more impressive without Michael Carter-Williams, which is the role we will see him in the first few weeks of the season.
Seeing how Brett Brown uses someone like Malcolm Thomas, who has been with the team for less than a week, will be interesting. Thomas has range out to the three-point line and is a beast down low. Will Brett Brown throw him a bone in the first few games to see his potential? A pairing of Malcolm Thomas and Henry Sims isn’t half bad while Nerlens Noel is getting some rest. Henry Sims is one of the lunchpail guys that’s going to do all the hardwood. Sims averaged 11.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in 25 games with the 76ers last season. Expect that same type of production from him this year.
Let’s not forget that Michael Carter-Williams will return in a few weeks and take the reins away from Tony Wroten at the point guard position. Carter-Williams has been rehabbing his shoulder injury all offseason, so seeing how he responds to knocking the rust off will be interesting. Will he come out of the gates like he did in his NBA debut against the Miami Heat or will he have a slow start? I’m leaning toward the latter, but the former would be the best case scenario. The Rookie of the Year has a chance to answer a lot of circulating questions about his game this season when he’s healthy.
All in all, the losses will overtake the wins, but any fan of this team knows that this season isn’t about the win and loss column. The 2014-15 season for the Philadelphia 76ers is all about development and trying to find another diamond in the rough like Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims from last season that can hopefully become a key contributor for the team in the future. Malcolm Thomas is that guy for me, but we’ll have to see how Brown is going to divide up the minutes.
This time might be painful to watch at times, but it’s all apart of the process to get to that championship product. Pain is pleasure should be the motto of the 2014-15 76ers, because the growing pains will be there this year. However, everyone will look back at this season in three or four years and see it as a building block to the great product GM Sam Hinkie is attempting to build.
And with that, I welcome you to the 2014-15 Philadelphia 76ers season. Go Sixers!