This season has not been a good one, and barring a miracle, it will not get much better. This season’s demise, however, has not surprised many avid fans. Most Philadelphians envisioned a similar trajectory for the year before it started. That being said, mediocrity, or even sub-mediocrity, is not going to become the standard for Philadelphia fans. Going forward, there are a number of steps the Sixers must take to return to their position as contenders. In addition to properly using the two lottery picks (one likely top 5) in the upcoming exceptional draft class, the Sixers need to carefully plot who to “stash” (keep for the future), and who to “trash” (drop/trade/not renew contract).
Michael Carter Williams: This one is a no-brainer. MCW is not only the unanimous future point guard of the Sixers, but he is also far ahead of any other rookie in the ROY race. His stat line resembles that of a very good veteran point guard, and his jump shot, along with his basketball IQ and his strength, will only improve as his career goes on.
Nerlens Noel: While his NBA potential has yet to be tested, anybody who watched Kentucky last year knows that Nerlens can jump out of the gym. Noel’s upside is vast, and the Sixers need to take a shot at him if they want to succeed in the future. He may not pan out, but on a rookie contract, he is a risk worth taking.
Thaddeus Young: Thad Young is a favorite for fans. Every single night he goes 100%, and that is undeniable. He does take cap space, but he has the potential to be a more experienced voice both in the locker room and in the starting lineup. He is only 25, but he truly cares about winning. That attitude provides a cultural boost to any locker room.
Spencer Hawes: Spencer Hawes can serve a similar purpose as Thad can. He also has the ability to guide Nerlens through the process of developing an offensive presence. Spencer is also only 25, so he should still have his best years ahead of him.
Evan Turner: Evan Turner has finally shown some of his promise during parts of this year, however he has no piece in the future of the team. One of the Sixers’ two potential lottery picks in the upcoming draft should be used to receive a guard, and Evan Turner can see his way out the door at the end of the year.
Jason Richardson: The only possible claim to keep Richardson would be related to his experience, but he is eating up far too much cap space for his role. Instead, the Sixers should do whatever possible to dump his contract.
Lavoy Allen: Lavoy Allen is young, and he is a solid bench-big man. However, there are many young players on the Sixers, and the team will not have the resources to retain them all. Instead of keeping a big man who will never be more than a role-player, the Sixers should find a more experienced role-playing big man who is willing to sign for slightly less money. A veteran will be able to build a winning environment in addition to possessing on-court experience to guide a young team.
Ideal future starting 5:
PG: Michael Carter-Williams
SG: New Player (either drafted, brought in as a free agent, or traded for)
SF: Thad Young/New Player
PF: Nerlens Noel/Thad Young
C: Spencer Hawes/Nerlens Noel