As the Summer League is coming to a close and the free agency market is drying up, it’s never too early to start talking about the NBA regular season. Yes it’s July, but soon enough it’s training camp, preseason and then the regular season which will begin earlier than usual this year. According to Adam Silver, opening night will be on October 17th, approximately ten days earlier than usual to shorten what is this brutal layoff.
The 76ers made splashes through the draft and free agency, continuing to add on-court assets to potentially compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. However, with that, there will be some players who we have seen in the past who might not join the 76ers on their run. Which 15 players will be suiting up in the red white and blue for the 2017-2018 season come opening night?
Locks: Robert Covington, Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz, Amir Johnson, JJ Redick, Dario Saric, Ben Simmons (7). It seems like its the first time in a while that there are seven players on the 76ers who are locks to make the roster and majority being pieces in the future that they can build around. The JJ Redick and Amir Johnson one year deals were smart despite a little overpay, due to the fact that they didn’t want to take away future cap space. They will have decisions to make when Covington, Embiid, Johnson and Redick’s contracts all expire next year, but talks of extensions for RoCo and “The Process” are already taking place.
Not 100% but pretty close: Richaun Holmes, TJ McConnell, Justin Anderson (3). What is common between these three guys is that they were all given a surprise opportunity and ran with it. Richaun, an early 2nd round pick in 2015 from Bowling Green took over for Embiid and Okafor when they were injured and thrived. TJ McConnell, has beaten out PG after PG due to his basketball IQ and defensive toughness. He even hit two game winners last season against the Knicks and the Magic. Justin was stuck in Dallas rarely getting any playing time, and got the chance to switch teams and definitely deserves to stick around.
If he’s still on the team, yes: Jahlil Okafor (1). Jah’s position is really tough with his name constantly flying around in trade rumors and often being forgotten when talking about the 76ers bright future. He’s spent this summer in the gym getting in better basketball shape and it’s shown. If he’s still on the team, no doubt he’s one of the best 15 players.
Who’s Left? James Blackmon Jr., Jerryd Bayless, Jonah Bolden, Furkan Korkmaz, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Alex Poythress, Tiago Splitter, Nik Stauskas, Melo Trimble (4). We have nine guys here that are going to squeeze into four roster spots. It doesn’t make much sense to eat Jerryd Bayless’ contract and could be a veteran to mentor Fultz, so having him as a 2/3 PG seems plausible. Furkan Korkmaz (#26 pick in 2016 NBA draft) came over from Turkey a year earlier than most anticipated, and has played extremely well in the summer league, in my eyes, earning him a spot. These last two is where it gets really messy. Jonah Bolden has played some great basketball in summer league, yet the original plan for the 2017 second round pick was to keep him in Serbia where he’d been playing before. If that’s the case, then #14 should be Luwawu-Cabarrot and #15 should be Nik Stauskas filling out the roster. However, don’t be surprised to see some call-ups/send-downs from the newly named “G-League” with all of these borderline players.