Expect dramatic changes in Sixers roster
This year's NBA draft is sure to affect who will stay and who will go.
WITH TWO first-round picks and five picks in the second round of the June 26 draft, there is little doubt the 76ers roster will look drastically different next season. Here's a look at who may be going and who may be staying:
* Michael Carter-Williams ($2.3 million, signed through 2017-18):
It seems to be a no-brainer that the soon-to-be-announced NBA rookie of the year will be back. But this time last year, I wrote about another young point guard who would be a key building block of the future in Jrue Holiday. He was gone a couple of months later. What if the Sixers fall to third or fourth in the draft and they decide the best available player is point guard Dante Exum? He hails from Australia (where Brett Brown coached for many years), and his dad was coached by Brown. Few know much about the kid, but Brown does. And he loves the kid. Just putting it out there.
* Nerlens Noel ($3.17 million, signed through 2017-18):
He will be here next season, making his NBA debut in a Sixers uniform at some point. The question surrounding Noel is this: Whom do you surround him with down low? Ideally you would like to have a hybrid, big-four man on offense who can step away from the basket and shoot the ball from the outside, yet is big and strong enough to defend the paint. Noel's best way of scoring still could be the way it was at Kentucky - follows, and running the break. Defensively, he'll be best-suited coming off his man and blocking shots, not bellying with bigger players in the paint.
* Thaddeus Young ($9.16 million, player option for 2015-16):
The name Danny Granger keeps popping into my mind when thinking what the Sixers will do with Young. The Sixers got Granger from the Pacers in a trade-day deal. The Sixers had to pay him the remainder of his $14 million contract (about $4 million). They could have signed and traded him in the offseason, but instead chose to buy him out and let him play somewhere else. If they were that generous to Granger, why wouldn't they afford the same option to Young, who has been such a great soldier? I think Young asks out and I think the Sixers accommodate him, if they can get a deal that's somewhat fair.
* Arnett Moultrie ($1.14 million, team option for 2015-16):
It would be a shock to think that Moultrie, suspended for five games late in the season for violating the league's anti-drug policy and in possession of a horrible attitude most of the season, would be back. He will have to show tremendous improvement in both his game and demeanor if the Sixers even think of bringing him back. I expect some sort of buyout.
* Tony Wroten ($1.2 million, team option for 2015-16):
I really think that Brown liked the improvement of Wroten throughout the season as he learned to play the game at a slower pace when needed. He is a big point guard (6-6) who gets to the rim as well as anyone. If he can improve his passing, realize he's not an outside shooter, and make close to 70 percent of his foul shots, he can be a very valuable asset.
* Jason Richardson ($6.6 million player option):
Brown loved the veteran, off-the-court leadership Richardson brought to the team this season. But Richardson never got on the court as he was recovering from major knee surgery performed late last season. He'll be 34 next season, and there are no guarantees his knee will allow him to compete at an NBA level again. Perhaps an injury-related buyout would be the best option for both parties.
* B.J. Mullens ($1.06 million player option):
Can't see him being here next season. Though he is a stretch big man offensively, who may work well with Noel in that way, he is not a paint defender. He doesn't really seem to fit in any scenario.
* Elliot Williams ($981,000 team option):
Another big guard (6-5), but he is an above-average defender. He improved significantly at the offensive end during the season, scoring in double figures in 10 of the last 12 games. For a team that needs tremendous improvement on the defensive end, I see Williams here next season.
* Jarvis Varnado:
He got most of his minutes late in the season backing up starter Henry Sims. Ideally for the Sixers, Sims will not be a starter next season, but a steady 15- to 20-minutes-a-night backup. That means there won't really be room for the shot-blocking Varnado.
* James Anderson (free agent):
He played in 80 games this season and started in 62 of them. Although he isn't really a long-shooting threat, he was the best that the Sixers had and shot 32.8 percent from three-point range with 115 makes. He averaged 10.1 points, but is probably better suited as a spark off the bench. He'll probably be given every chance to stick around.
* Henry Sims (free agent):
Perhaps no one on the ever-changing roster made a bigger impression than Sims. He started 25 of the 26 games after coming here on trade-day deal with Cleveland and averaged 11.8 points and seven rebounds. He'll most likely be here next season .
* Brandon Davies (free agent):
Not enough on either side of the court to warrant keeping him. Brown often talks of a player having an NBA skill set. I don't see Davies possessing a skill that will keep him around.
* Hollis Thompson (free agent):
He is one of the coach's favorites and there is potential. He led rookies in field-goal percentage from three-point range (40.1 percent). I see him sticking.
* Casper Ware (free agent):
Guard may be a spot where the Sixers will have ample numbers. His size (5-10) is a detriment, but his hustle and grit are more than admirable. I don't see him sticking, though.
* Adonis Thomas (free agent):
Another big wing with a real NBA body, Thomas will have to prove himself over the summer and in training camp. Still a question mark.