The 76ers began to make cuts from their 20 man training camp roster yesterday. They officially waived big men Kris Humphries and Emeka Okafor, and rookie guard out of Indiana University James Blackmon Jr. on Saturday. In the NBA, teams are allowed 15 players to have full on NBA contracts, and two players with a “two-way deal” which constitutes these players bouncing back and forth from the 76ers squad and their G-League (formerly known as the D-League) affiliate, the Delaware 87ers.
James Michael McAdoo, formerly of the Golden State Warriors and North Carolina Tar Heels was already signed to one of those deals, but also becoming official yesterday was Jacob Pullen, a point guard who played college ball at Kansas State and most recently played in Russia, will get the other deal. This was a little bit unexpected, with the 76ers having Markelle Fultz, Jerryd Bayless and TJ McConnell already on their roster. Pullen said after hearing the news, “I tell people all the time, there are three ways to the top — the escalator, elevator, stairs. Some people get the elevator. Some get the escalator. Some walk up all of the flights of stairs. The NBA is an important thing to me now. It’s a dream that I want to come true. So I’ll take the stairs.”
As the 76ers start their season up on Wednesday night in DC, the 15 man roster is set and there really are no surprises. The point guard position is in good hands with three extremely different players in Fultz, Bayless and McConnell. The wing players are going to fight for minutes, with guys like Furkan Korkmaz, Nik Stauskas, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot all looking for some time, but anticipate J.J. Redick getting the majority of the minutes at the 2 guard spot after an impressive preseason and a $23 million dollar deal.
It should be Robert Covington starting at the small forward position to start the year, with an improved Justin Anderson backing up RoCo. Dario Saric and Ben Simmons might play that three spot from time to time, but it doesn’t fit either of them extremely well. For the first time in a while, the big man situation seems to be set for the Sixers. The Richaun Holmes injury (out 8 weeks) makes it even more clear at least at the start. A rotation of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid backed up by newly signed Amir Johnson (who also had a solid preseason) and a slimmed down Jahlil Okafor should suffice. Brett Brown should be able to play with the lineups, and finally have some punch on that second unit which they haven’t had at all during this whole process. Doesn’t it feel good to say that it’s finally basketball season?