Rounding The Roster As Sixers Sit On 2016


Feb 27, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward

Robert Covington

(white jacket) reacts with team mates after a score against the Washington Wizards during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers defeated the Wizards 89-81. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Rounding The Roster As Sixers Sit On 2016

I recently covered the status of the Philadelphia 76ers roster, and the fact that we currently have one or up to three roster spots to fill this season. In the article, I failed you. Well not you exactly, but I failed to layer on the impact of the Europeans. You know, the players I discussed in The Europeans Are Coming article.

So in the spirit of the mulligan, or just to let you know that I have some more information that you might consider valuable, I will address that shortcoming now.

The Sixers currently have three players “stashed”, and they are:  power forward Dario Saric, point guard Vasilije Micic, and power forward Arsalan Kazemi.  To this, the team has drafted two second rounders, shooting guard Jordan McRae returning from the Australian league and small forward J.P. Tokoto who has yet to receive and decide upon a tender offer.

This year, the team is sitting on four power forwards, if you consider the conversion of Nerlens Noel from center to power forward a done deal, so Kazemi is unlikely to return this year.   We had discussed the nature of Dario Saric’s contract, and the fact that economically, there is incentive for him to remain in Turkey for the entire three years of his contract.  Is Dario Saric NBA ready?  Dirk Nowitzki says he is.  Most NBA analysts say that he is, as he is considered the top international NBA prospect.  But what about the Sixer head coach?  So many times he has been tasked with developing players to the NBA talent level.  His word is final.  Head coach Brett Brown says he is as well also.

"“I think he can play now! I think that in Philadelphia we are about development and about opportunity. He would look around and see a lot of fellow young players that just want a chance to play. Our whole emphasis in Philadelphia is about development and help our players. We are trying to be as good as we can be in sport science and growing up players physically and from a skill perceptive. He is an other one of our young lottery picks that we hope to grow the program with”. – Brett Brown"

He’s contracted for three years. It makes economic sense to play overseas for three years. But we have been reassured, even recently, that Saric is committed to returning in two years.

"“Next summer I will, probably, finally go where I want, to the biggest basketball league in the world, NBA,” Saric said. “It is imperative to do more next year with Efes and then it’s time for America. This year we tried something , but as Efes asked me to stay and said that they remain as an important player , I was forced to stay on it . Finally , I see that it makes sense to stay and improve here.” – Dario Saric, via Jutarnji List, as translated by O. Cauchi of Sportando"

So 2016 looks to be solid competition for power forward. But what about center? Well the team will have Jahlil Okafor, and a returning Joel Embiid. They will also have Nerlens Noel, who can split time as center or power forward.

In 2016, the point guard competition will likely have played out, and the field of four will have been whittled down to a solid two.  Micic is not quite NBA starting material yet, but he’s a 21 year old 6’5″ point guard with superior passing skills, and in Germany he’s scoring 10.4 points (41.2 FG%, 35.0 3P%, 77.4 FT%), 3.3 assists, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 19.6 minutes per game.

6’7″ Arsalan Kazemi is strong on defense.  On the offensively weak Chongqing Fly Dragon team, he also was one of their offensive weapons.  He’s averaged 14.2 points on 65.7% shooting to go along with 13.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.9 steals in 37.2 minutes per contest.  He also would be competing at a stacked position.  But he brings solid defense, and we’ve discussed that defense is an undervalued but critical skill in the NBA.

More from The Sixer Sense

Yes, the Philadelphia 76ers have not played well these past two seasons.  In year three, they will have the benefit of getting three first round draft picks onto the basketball court at the same time:  Okafor, Noel, Sauskas.  Winning is important this season.  With signs that the plan is taking hold, next season’s prospects will be excited to join a team on a rapid ascent.  The team which could collect another four first round NBA draft prospects in 2016 as well.

Talent is not just trickling in.  Talent is unloading at the Wells Fargo Center by the busload.  Some will fizzle out.  Some may never realize their ultimate potential.  But when you play the odds, and commit the team to so many alternative options, there should be a championship team among those players.

The key is to wait, and choose wisely when the busload of talent arrives.