Ranking every NBA starting five; where do Sixers land?

Sixers Warriors Joel Embiid (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Sixers Warriors Joel Embiid (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Sixers are expected to compete for a championship in 2023. After last season’s disappointing finish, Daryl Morey retooled the roster (and the starting five). James Harden now enters his first full season with the franchise, while P.J. Tucker should be a sizable upgrade on the wing.

We recently ranked every starting backcourt in the NBA and every starting frontcourt in the NBA. Naturally, the Sixers ranked highly in both respects. Now, we broaden the focus to every team’s starting five. If you want to win the title, you need an elite five-man group.

How highly does Philadelphia rank?

team. 29. . . . San Antonio Spurs. 30

30. Spurs — Tre Jones, Josh Primo, Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, Jakob Poeltl

In what could be Gregg Popovich’s last season on the sideline, the Spurs are at long last beginning their rebuild. Keldon Johnson and Josh Primo are the developmental focal points, while Devin Vassell’s continued evolution is worth monitoring as well. Jakob Poeltl is an excellent defensive anchor, but there’s a more than fair chance he gets traded for picks mid-season. Tre Jones is a solid game manager, but he’s not exactly starting point guard material long-term.

29. team. 169. . . . Houston Rockets

29. Rockets — Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, Eric Gordon, Jabari Smith Jr., Alperen Sengun

Houston has a lot of interesting young talent. Jalen Green is primed for an explosive second season as the Rockets’ primary scorer. His unique blend of explosiveness, twitchiness, footwork, and shot-making are difficult to overlook. It took him a while to get going as a rookie, but late in the season, Green looked like the next great Western Conference guard. Eric Gordon is the stable vet of the group. Jabari Smith Jr. was almost the No. 1 pick for a reason — he will contribute on both sides of the ball. Alperen Sengun’s rookie numbers were sporadic but often impressive. Increased reps could lead to a real second-year breakout for the Turkish product.

64. . . . Detroit Pistons. 28. team

28. Pistons — Jaden Ivey, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Marvin Bagley III, Isaiah Stewart

Cade Cunningham is special. He alone could put a few extra wins on the Pistons’ record. Jaden Ivey figures to contribute immensely as a rookie, while Saddiq Bey will see his scoring reps increase in the absence of Jerami Grant. That said, the Pistons are overwhelmingly young still, and have very little proven talent beyond Cunningham. They are scrappy on defense, and there’s a real chance Cunningham puts up All-Star numbers, but don’t expect many wins for Detroit.