As the dust from free agency settles, how do the Philadelphia 76ers stack up in comparison to the rest of the NBA?
While several impact players such as Pau Gasol, Nerlens Noel and JaMychal Green still remain on the market, most marquee free agents are off the board. The NBA landscape projects to look far different next season with All-Stars Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Gordon Hayward among others — including new Philadelphia 76ers guard J.J. Redick — finding different homes.
So without further ado, I present to you my Post Free Agency Power Rankings.
The Warriors cruised to their second NBA Championship in three years with a 16-1 playoff record and look primed to repeat next season. They’re far and away the best team in basketball right now despite splashy moves from their Western Conference counterparts this offseason. They retained core pieces in re-signing Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala while adding Nick Young. This team could break their own record for most wins in a season next year if they wished, but given how that turned out for them last time, head coach Steve Kerr will probably err on the side of caution.
After failing to land Paul George, Jimmy Butler or Carmelo Anthony via trade this offseason, the Cavaliers still sit a tier below the Warriors. The signings of Jose Calderon and Jeff Green will strengthen the team but Cleveland’s ceiling for the 2017-18 season remains unchanged. Yet as long as LeBron James still plays for the Cavaliers, they’ll be the favorite to win the Eastern Conference. With a significantly weaker Eastern Conference, LeBron and company should encounter very few obstacles on their quest for a fourth straight NBA Finals appearance. Despite entering next season at nearly 33 years old, LeBron has shown little to no signs that a decline in play is imminent. He is still the best player in the world and with an All-Star supporting cast of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, LeBron looks poised to make his eighth straight Finals.
Last season the Rockets returned to the upper echelon of the Western Conference after hiring a new head coach in Mike D’Antoni, finishing with the third best record in the NBA. James Harden re-emerged as an MVP candidate while Eric Gordon and Clint Capela showed their capabilities as strong role players. General Manager Daryl Morey was not content in the team’s roster construction as he traded for perennial All-Star point guard Chris Paul back in June. The addition of Paul provides Houston with the opportunity to keep an elite ball handler on the court all times. With rumors swirling around the potential acquisition of New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, the Rockets do not appear to be done dealing for the summer. While there still exists a gap between the Rockets and Warriors, kudos are in order for Morey who refuses to sit back and wait out Golden State’s dominance. One thing’s for sure though: this Houston team will be a treat to watch next season.
Death, taxes and 50 win seasons for the Spurs are the lone certainties in life. They lost Jonathan Simmons to the Orlando Magic while Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are a year older. Yet Parker’s injury during the playoffs opened the door for rookie guard Dejounte Murray to gain valuable postseason experience. Parker and Murray, along with newly re-signed Patty Mills, should give the Spurs solid production at the point guard position next season. Head coach Gregg Popovich will certainly mold this team into one of the top squads in the Western Conference while quiet, do-it-all superstar Kawhi Leonard leads the way on the court. The addition of veteran swingman Rudy Gay will benefit the team and the Spurs should once again be one of the best in the league.
This summer was a stark contrast to last year’s offseason when the team watched as their homegrown superstar Kevin Durant departed for the Warriors. General Manager Sam Presti showed once again why he’s so highly regarded around the league. First, he traded Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to the Indiana Pacers for All-Star forward Paul George, providing 2016-17 MVP Russell Westbrook with some much needed help. While this move alone would make for a successful offseason, Presti wasn’t done. He signed a stretch four in veteran Patrick Patterson and added a backup point guard in Raymond Felton. George will serve as the team’s secondary playmaker, alleviating much of the burden Westbrook experienced this past season. Additionally, his spot up shooting and strong perimeter defense perfectly complements the superstar point guard’s game. The duo of George and Westbrook will certainly be an exciting pairing to watch next season.