One silver lining of the Sixers’ intentions to struggle this season is the opportunity it provides for young, developing players and prospects.
Contending teams may fill their training camp roster with a few fringe players, but usually such lineups are made up of prerequisite stars, proven starters and ready role players. The Sixers, as currently constructed, don’t really have any of these.
There is no central star on this squad. Nerlens Noel is probably the most well-known player at this point, and he has yet to play a single second in the NBA. And while the roster does include some starter-status players such as Thaddeus Young, Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner, it has far fewer of such players than the average camp roster of a team in contention.
As a comparison point, the defending champion Heat have five players on their camp roster with one year or less of NBA experience. The Sixers have 11. That’s a whole lot of inexperience, which doesn’t usually correlate to on-court success. But, looking at it another way, it is also a whole lot of potential for the Sixers to sift through.
By filling up their roster with players tagged with the terms “project” and “potential,” rather than players who could contribute and help them win this season, the Sixers ensured that they would struggle, and also gave themselves an excellent opportunity to scope out some talent that may have otherwise gone untapped.
That’s not to say that Darius Morris, Tony Wroten, Khalif Wyatt, Vander Blue, Tim Ohlbrecht, Royce White, Rodney Williams and Hollis Thompson are all going to develop into solid NBA players, but a couple of them may, and the Sixers have the luxury of getting a long, first-person look at them.
Oftentimes, such players just need an opportunity. Look at players like Chauncey Billups and Jeremy Lin, who had to go through several seasons and squads to prove that they could be not only good, but above average NBA players. This season with the Sixers could be that opportunity for some of these young guys.
After only a week’s worth of training camp and two exhibition games, Wroten has already shown that he could be a valuable asset to a team. Others like Wyatt, Thompson and Blue have shown signs of promise, especially on the offensive end.
Although the Sixers’ season will be a struggle, player development will be an interesting dynamic to pay attention to. Young players, that in other situations may not have seen the light of day, should have ample opportunity to prove their worth to the Sixers and to the league at large.
The Sixers’ intention to struggle, and its resulting roster, gives the organization an opportunity to unearth some talent that could contribute to the future of the franchise.