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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Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

team. 84. . . . Sacramento Kings. 21

21. Kings — De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes, Keegan Murray, Domantas Sabonis

Sacramento’s controversial decision to trade for Domantas Sabonis has not aged perfectly, but there’s no denying Sabonis’ influence on the team. He’s a dominant interior force who formed fast chemistry with De’Aaron Fox, who did see his own numbers skyrocket following Haliburton’s exit. Those two should keep the Kings in the play-in tournament mix, especially with such a solid supporting cast. Harrison Barnes is often the Kings’ unsung hero, but he shows up to work and performs every night. Keegan Murray was a top-4 pick for a reason, and Kevin Huerter should be a clean fit in the backcourt as a dynamic 3-and-D wing.

. New York Knicks. 20. team. 27. .

20. Knicks — Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, R.J. Barrett, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson

The Knicks’ lineup is actually pretty interesting. Jalen Brunson was big time for Dallas in the playoffs and he satiates a long-running need for a real point guard in New York. R.J. Barrett, meanwhile, looks primed to make his first real run at the All-Star game next season. Between Brunson’s heady playmaking and Barrett’s rumbling downhill scoring, New York’s offense should run much smoother than in 2021-22. Julius Randle is also in line for something of a bounce back, while Mitchell Robinson is another year further along in his development. The starting two-guard spot is hard to project (Evan Fournier is the vet and Immanuel Quickley is the fan favorite), but Quentin Grimes’ defense wins him the job for now.

19. team. 34. . . . Portland Trail Blazers

19. Blazers — Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, Jerami Grant, Jusuf Nurkic

The Blazers’ success will ultimately come down to how healthy Damian Lillard is. The All-Star missed most of last season rehabbing an abdominal injury, but he now claims to feel better than ever. If that’s true, Portland could be right back in the postseason mix. Anfernee Simons is a suitable replacement for CJ McCollum (with plenty of room left to grow), while the addition of Jerami Grant fortifies the defense in a significant way. Josh Hart provides well-rounded contributions on the wing, and Jusuf Nurkic remains a savvy two-way force — even if he has lost a step to injuries.