Training Camp: Front Court Getting As Clogged As Back


The Philadelphia 76ers, like the rest of the NBA, are nearing training camp. Set to start on September 29th, the team will begin their trek at slimming a roster of 20 down to 15, which could be more of a difficult task than it seems at first glance.

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Our staff writer George Kondoleon pointed out in episode two of The Flat Top Podcast that that at least one solid point guard is likely to get cut by the end of this year’s training camp. The point guard and backcourt positions have been most discussed the past few months when training camp comes up. Kendall Marshall getting signed only made things more complicated, as the Sixers have about five players lobbying to be chosen to make the final team, when the team is only looking to keep three (and two of the front runners are currently set to be out with injury until late October).

While it looked like this was going to be the only part of training camp that was truly exciting due to all of the options to speculate about, the front court has all of a sudden begun to catch fire as well.

The starting front court is nearly set in stone. Unless something bizarre or tragic ends up happening, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel will probably be starting most of the games this season.

As it stands now, the Sixers have Furkan Aldemir, Arsalan Kazemi (if he is, in fact, coming for training camp) Christian Wood, Richaun Holmes, and Carl Landry all competing for front court spots. Just out of that group, it’s another unfortunate situation where one young (or in this case, old if it ends up being Landry) player with a lot of talent is going to be out of a job by the end of training camp.

And just as the Sixers always seem to do, they made things even more complicated. Former first round pick Anthony Bennett, who was released by the Minnesota Timberwolves, was gaining a lot of interest from the Sixers. They were reported as a front runner to pick him up.

Derek Bodner, however, was skeptical of the reports, and reported that the initial assumption that the Sixers would jump on this may not be completely accurate, as more cap space could be beneficial for the team when the deadline rolls around. This could leave them with more of a shot to get a solid player, instead of Bennett, who has never averaged more than 5.2 points per game.

He was right to question this, as Friday afternoon Bennett was reported to be signing with the Raptors.

Wondering who will back up Jahlil and Nerlens is a very valid question. Head coach Brett Brown let the media know Wednesday afternoon that they were looking at keeping three guards, which leaves a tough task for the Sixers in figuring out who deserves to be kept on the team.

Three is likely to be the magic number for each of the front court positions, too, leaving a total of six players to be selected into the two positions.

Much overlooked, as I’ve alluded to, is the front court. A team has 15 roster spots to fill for the regular season. There are seven players coming to camp as a center or power forward. Even if none of these players get cut, it would still be difficult for us to see all of these players on a regular basis.

It’s safe to assume that Landry won’t get much playing time. His prime has passed, and he’s more valuable as a locker room veteran presence than he is a court presence at this point. Most also would not be surprised to see Wood cut.

This leaves a front court of five normally playing players, which is still pretty hard to work out considering both Noel and Okafor will be getting significant playing time.

I don’t have any proposed solutions, and I’m not sure it’s really even that big of a deal. The front court is clearly one of the more solid parts of the lineup, and the focus of training camp will, of course, be surrounding the guards, not who will get cut from the front court.

Despite that, the front court has talent, and it may be hard to get guys like Kazemi, Aldemir, and Holmes significant minutes. I think it is deserving of attention just how clogged up it is getting, and how many players from these two positions alone may get cut.

Fans should be looking out for the race in the front court position during training camp, and not just the back court.

Next: Stauskas Open To A Ginobili Role

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