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 Brandon Dill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brandon Dill/Getty Images) /

Toronto Raptors. 15. team. 81. . .

15. Raptors — Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam

Toronto’s small starting five paid dividends last season. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet emerged as bonafide stars, while the ability to switch across positions played into Toronto’s swarming nature on defense. Gary Trent Jr. finally emerged as a reliable 3-and-D weapon, while Scottie Barnes’ Rookie of the Year run hinted at major long-term potential. He scored more prolifically than he ever did in college, all while maintaining elite defense at multiple positions and occasionally running point at 6-foot-8. His diverse, unselfish skill set is the glue that held together a playoff team. OG Anunoby — if he can stay healthy — is once again a strong early bet for Most Improved Player.

14. team. 211. . . . Memphis Grizzlies

14. Grizzlies — Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams

The Grizzlies posted the second-best regular season record in the NBA last season. That was largely a factor of their unmatched depth. Memphis spent much of last offseason trying to create roster spots for all the young talent on the team. While the bench was a big reason for the Grizzlies’ success, one cannot discount the starting five. Ja Morant catapulted into the MVP discussion with a magical third season. Jaren Jackson Jr. was a singularly impactful rim protector, Desmond Bane emerged as one of the NBA’s preeminent sharpshooters, and Dillon Brooks continued to impact winning on both sides of the ball. Even Steven Adams, who was more situational than foundational, made an indelible mark on the team with his high-feel approach and toughness in the paint.

. Miami Heat. 13. team. 110. .

13. Heat — Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Max Strus, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo

Miami has made two conference finals in three seasons with Jimmy Butler. This lineup just works. Kyle Lowry took a step back last season, but his intelligence, toughness, and timely shot-making still translated to winning basketball. Butler is a flat-out superstar, and Bam Adebayo isn’t too far behind. The latter is arguably the best defender in the Eastern Conference right now — his versatility at the five spot is unmatched. Tyler Herro won Sixth Man of the Year, and early projections have him joining the starting five. He’s the team’s most explosive perimeter scorer. Max Strus is there to hit 3s and defend. This is a rock-solid group with a lot of connectivity and chemistry.