“Two big men who don’t really fit together and the rest is a D-league roster.”
—An anonymous scout, when as by the Charlotte Observers’ Rick Bonnell to describe the Philadelphia 76ers. The 0-14 Sixers.
It’s a funny line. And the fact is we know that most of this Sixers’ roster will not be around in a few years as they start to bring in better talent (via the draft, and then free agency). The problem is it’s hard to evaluate Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor as a front line because of the terrible play around them. Make no mistake, they have not looked good together — when Okafor and Noel are on the court together, the Sixers have an offensive rating of just 80.7 points per 100 possessions, and they are getting outscored by 25.7 per 100. The spacing is terrible, but then again the Sixers’ spacing is terrible in general because of the lack of quality guard play and shooting.
The Sixers are committed to this rebuild system for now — they could have two top five picks next June (theirs, plus the Lakers’ pick if it is outside the top three), and potentially other picks in the first round (depending on how things go, those picks have protections, but likely at least one more). Plus we are still waiting on Joel Embiid to play and Dario Saric to come over from Europe. There is potential in the Sixers’ process — if they nail the draft picks. Have they so far? Can they in the future? The entire process we are supposed to trust relies on it.