Wishlist for Each Player by Position for the Philadelphia 76ers
With the holiday season upon us, let’s look at what each player on the Philadelphia 76ers’ roster wants to receive from good ol’ Saint Nick this year.
It’s that time of year again, ladies and gentleman. A time of gifts and trees and holly and eggnog. For the most part, we all take this time to think about what our loved ones want for their respective holidays. If there’s something people tend to forget about, it’s what they might want. Basketball players are no exception.
This time of year is a time of giving, as well as receiving. In the case of the Philadelphia 76ers, they’re going to need to receive a lot. From the Process to the Professional, everyone is going to need certain things in order to achieve future success.
In order to achieve this success, they first need to figure out what is they need to do in order to achieve it. They need a plan. A team’s that going to continue to grow needs this more than an already established threat in the NBA. Young team, if they want to become contenders, need to make sure they keep that in mind.
So, without further ado, here’s what each Sixers player should be wishing for this holiday season. Each group represents their respective position.
Sergio Rodriguez: A Contract Extension/ Nice Free Agent Deal
On of the key bright spots for the Philadelphia 76ers’ free agent class has been the play of Sergio Rodriguez. He signed on originally to start at point guard for one year, on a deal worth $8 Million. Expectations were moderate at best.
However, Chacho has definitely exceeded those expectations. Currently averaging 8.8 points per game and 6.3 assists per game, Chacho has played his role well. On top of that, he has only missed one game this season.
You always know what you’re going to get with Rodriguez. So much so that it only makes sense for the Sixers to look to extend him in the offseason. Sergio doesn’t demand a whole lot, playing the game in whatever capacity coach Brett Brown asks him to. This sort of professionalism will definitely get him looks from the Philadelphia 76ers as well as many other teams looking for a solid point guard.
So, Sergio Rodriguez’s play has made him a very desirable asset if teams were looking for point guard depth. If he’s writing his letter to Santa, Chacho should be wishing for a contract extension. He already has the beard of Santa Claus. Maybe he can be the Saint Nick of the Sixers.
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T.J. McConnell: More Playing Time
A guy who has flown under the radar for most of this season has been T.J. McConnell. He has played the backup point guard role for the entirety of the 2016-2017 season. Lost in the shuffle, McConnell might be wishing for more opportunities to succeed.
T.J. has only started one game this year. However, it was one hell of a game to say the least. In that game on December 11th, McConnell recorded 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists. This game was the game that made T.J. relevant again in the Sixers’ rotation.
However, the Floor General hasn’t found himself breaking into the rotation in a more effective way. He’s average 19.4 minutes per game this season. That’s slightly less than last year’s numbers, at 19.8 minutes per game.
With such a game, McConnell should be hoping to capitalize on this momentum. He should be looking to take more shots, too. This season, McConnell has taken on average 4.1 shots per game. If he really wants to make a statement, T.J. should be looking to play a more important role in the offense. He doesn’t have to become a ballhog, but at least get the defense guessing a little bit.
Jerryd Bayless: A Quick, Healthy Recovery
One of the low points of this seasons has got to be the lack of Jerryd Bayless on the active roster. He signed on in free agency to a 3 year, $27 Million deal. Bayless spent most of the offseason recovering from wrist ailments. We finally got a glimpse into Bayless’ style of play in a game against the Miami Heat back on November 22nd.
The next night in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Bayless played a major role in keeping the game competitive. He ended that game with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. That was one of the most hard-fought games of the season, in my opinion. Bayless was major piece to that puzzle.
Although, he only played one game after that on November 25th against the Chicago Bulls. On December 16th, Bayless got wrist surgery in order to heal the torn ligaments in his wrist. So the one real thing that he can wish for is a safe recovery/ rehab process. Hopefully, he’ll be able to pick up where he left off for the next two years of his deal.
Gerald Henderson: Keep Doing What You’re Doing
Gerald Henderson is one of the most consistent players on the Philadelphia 76ers’ roster. He’s a true veteran, starting all of the 27 games that he’s played in this season. Even when he has an off night scoring, he contributes in other facets of the game.
Hendo provides a veteran presence on the team. He’s not there to post flashy numbers or to bring the house down. His job is to be a leader, and to get the most of the guys around him. Although the team is not contending for a playoff spot, it’s more about development than anything else. Henderson is doing just that.
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So, for a guy who comes in day in and day out and does what he has to do, it only makes sense to keep him on. It only makes sense for the team to get more of the same out of him. Hopefully, he can continue to help the guys around him improve.
Nik Stauskas: Continued, Sustained Momentum
If there was anyone on the Sixers (other than Embiid) who was off to a great start, it was Nik Stauskas. Nobody expected this to play at the efficient level that he was for the start of the season. He has shown a level of consistency in his game that was not there last season.
Currently averaging 9.5 points per game, Stauskas is beginning to show signs of what made him a legitimate player during his days at Michigan. Coupled with his scoring numbers is an efficient 44.5 percent field goal percentage and a 38.9 percent three point shooting percentage. He’s not chucking up shots willy nilly anymore. He’s going out there and taking the most efficient shot possible.
So, Sauce should be hoping to maintain this great start throughout the season. If he does keep this rate up, maybe it will warrant a starting spot in the everyday rotation. It only makes sense for his future standing with the team that he sustains this success. Hopefully, he does so with ease.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot: More Playing Time
Similar to McConnell’s situation, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has been a guy who has gotten lost in the shuffle this season. Only playing in 18 games this season, it only makes sense that he would want more opportunities to prove himself. With the depth at the shooting guard position, TLC has not has the easiest pathway to the rotation.
For a guy who was pretty solid overseas, it only makes sense that he gets more playing time down the line. However, he just needs time to transition into the NBA style of play. He is definitely capable of competing in the league. As he’s shown in the few D-League games that he’s played, he can score the ball. In three D-League appearances, TLC has scored 10.3 points per game on 41.7 percent shooting from the field and 50.0 percent from the three.
So, if there’s anything that Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot wants this Christmas, it’s more playing time. With more playing time, TLC can improve on areas of his game that need work. Hopefully, coach Brett Brown can grant that wish for the Frenchman.
Ben Simmons: A Safe Return to Action
The most intriguing prospect on the Philadelphia 76ers roster is 1st overall pick Ben Simmons. He is seen as the next big thing in the league by those who follow the game. However, a foot injury in training camp has kept him sideline for the first portion of the season.
It has been speculated that Simmons should be set to return sometime within the next two months. This is a great sign for Sixers fans, as Simmons is the first number one overall pick the team has had since Allen Iverson. The real question here is: Will he be the same guy he was at LSU?
The answer right now is: we don’t know. But, the prospect of his return alone brings a smile to the face of a fanbase that has longed for a legitimately talented roster. The first real piece is playing now in Joel Embiid, but The Process alone is not enough. Once Simmons returns, hopefully the pieces start to come together.
Robert Covington: Start Hitting Shots
This one isn’t as immediate of a need, since Robert Covington has started to score more efficiently. However, because RoCo is so streaky, it only makes sense that he wants to start hitting those shots.
Covington has taken a page out of the Nik Stauskas book of shots. In respect to RoCo’s approach, he’s not settling for threes as much as he did in the beginning of the season. He’s actually start to drive into the lane and laying it up.
If the shots start falling, it could open up his game even more. He’s already shown that he’s a great defender, especially with his 6’9″ build. With this facet of his game, he is a much more competent player.
So, even though he’s still taking those threes, RoCo can only wish that they start falling. If the shoot starts falling, defenses will have to respect it. Thus, it makes him a much more coveted player on the team. Hopefully, Covington can start hitting those shots, especially considering how streaky he is.
Hollis Thompson: More Active Role off the Bench
One of the guys who has been overlooked this season has been Hollis Thompson. The longest tenured Sixer on the team has been cast aside for the most part. The former starter should be wishing to play more of a part in the team’s play.
Hollis is currently averaging 18.1 minutes per game. That’s a career low for the four-year veteran out of Georgetown. He’s only started one game this season. In that game he scored 6 points on 30 percent shooting from the field.
It’s safe to say that Hollis is having a down year in some respects, but only slightly. He has always been a guy who doesn’t overextend his boundaries. He plays within himself. But, maybe it’s time that he tries to do more with the opportunities that he’s getting. If he does so, he might be able to find his way into a bigger role.
Dario Saric: His Starting Minutes Back
Dario Saric has had an interesting rookie season thus far. He started off the year as the starting power forward. Then, once he wasn’t playing well enough to warrant a starting job, he was benched in favor of veteran Ersan Ilyasova. Saric became part of the second unit.
Ilyasova has done a solid job in that role. But then he was bench in favor of Jahlil Okafor. So now, you’ve got two power forwards coming in off the bench. As a starter, Saric has performed better. He was averaging 9.7 points per game and 6.0 rebounds per game as a starter. In contrast, he’s averaging 8.8 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game as a reserve.
Saric fits best at the power forward, starting power forward to be exact. The Homie is the kind of player who thrives with the ball in his hands. Obviously, there is cause for pause considering that Ben Simmons should be returning relatively soon. Maybe Saric can find a way to make it work with Ben. You never know.
Ersan Ilyasova: A Contract Extension/ Nice Free Agent Deal
One of the most unlikely assets the Sixers have accrued this season is Ersan Ilyasova. Brought in via trade early in the season for Jerami Grant, Ilyasova was brought in as another veteran presence for the team.
The Turkish forward has played for 5 teams over his 9 year career. In that span, he has played primarily as a role player. He was never expected to go above and beyond. However, since his shipment to Philadelphia he has shown a different side to his game.
The Professional is posting a career high in points during his tenure in Philly. He’s currently averaging 14.3 points per game, which is a tick above his best year in the 2012-2013 season at 13.2 points per game. He provides the abilities that stretch 4’s are supposed to possess. He’s a threat to hit the 3 as well as take it inside if he wants to.
With his play this season, and the fact that he’s in a contract year, Ilyasova is looking to cash in this offseason. If he continues this sort of play, he’s bound to get a nice contract from someone. If he plays his cards right, it could be in Philly.
Richaun Holmes: More Playing Time
If you want to talk about someone who has been buried in the Sixers rotation, Richaun Holmes is your man. Of active players on the team, Holmes has played the 21 games this season. For a guy who is healthy, that’s not a good look.
The primary reason for this has been the incredible amount of depth that the Sixers have at that position. Unfortunately, this has pushed Richaun aside for the most part. His hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, though. If anything, Holmes has opened up a conversation about how vital he could be in the right setting.
Holmes has made great strides over this season. He has become a better rebounder and is scoring more. He does more with the minutes he’s given. It almost feels like every game he plays in contains at least one highlight of him dunking on somebody.
So, maybe once the center logjam is cleared up, Richaun Holmes can finally see some valuable minutes. He can put in the work as a back up. As a matter of fact, he has shown a sort of resolve and hustle that rivals the likes of Taj Gibson and Tristan Thompson. Hopefully, these minutes are in Holmes’ future.
Nerlens Noel: A Trade
It has been well documented that Nerlens Noel is not happy with the logjam at the center situation. For the most part, he has been vocal about his displeasure. Nerlens sees each of the three centers on this roster as having starter-caliber talent.
With this excessive amount of talent at one position, it only makes sense to move one of these pieces to free up minutes for the other two. With that being said, Noel’s situation makes him the likely odd man out.
Nerlens has not gotten much playing time since his return back on December 11th in Detroit. He’s currently averaging 8.8 minutes per game in the 4 games that he’s played this year. Obviously, this must be frustrating for a guy who many consider to be the first real piece that the team acquire in the Sam Hinkie era.
There’s not much to do with the logjam other than move on of the three bigmen that are on the roster. Joel Embiid is a franchise piece, so he stays. Jahlil Okafor most likely stays because he’s under contract for a longer period of time than Noel. So, if Nerlens wants anything for Christmas, it’s most likely a change of scenery.
Jahlil Okafor: Stay in the Starting Lineup/ Roster Security
Jahlil Okafor, a.k.a. Jah, has had an interesting season so far, to say the least. His play has stayed the same for the most part. But, if there’s anything that Jahlil Okafor wants for Christmas, it’s to maintain his spot in the starting lineup.
In a time where the Sixers have too many centers, Jah is looking to be on of the pieces that doesn’t get moved in the near future. It’s obvious that the return from the surgery that he was rehabbing from slowed down his return to the starting rotation. But, now that he’s back in the starting lineup, he’d like to keep it that way.
The Embiid-Okafor experiment has seen mixed reviews so far. With both big men in the lineup, the defensive makeup of the team changes. Embiid is forced to cover fours in order to allow Okafor to cover fives at his natural spot. On offense, this is switched. Okafor typically ends up at the top of the key while Embiid is down in the paint. On paper, this makes sense. In practice, it’s going to need time in order to flourish properly.
So, if Jahlil Okafor wants anything this year, it’s to stay in the starting lineup. With Embiid by his side, Jah’s flaws are hidden by JoJo’s strengths. This is Jah’s best chance at remaining a Sixer, and will most likely warrant him staying with the team long term. If it works, this lineup is the best case scenario for all parties involved.
Joel Embiid: Continued Success and Health
The Process himself, Joel Embiid, has made a huge splash in this NBA so far. Fans of both the Sixers and basketball in general have marveled at this guy’s abilities with awe. If there’s anything that JoJo wants for Christmas, it’s for this success to continue for years to come.
This guy is something else. On Friday against the Phoenix Suns, he scored 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks. For a guy on a minutes restriction, that’s incredible. Most guys can only dream of scoring that many points in an NBA game. JoJo is making that dream a reality.
He can do it all on both ends of the floor. On offense he can stretch the floor, take it inside, or hit you with the patented Dream Shake. On defense he can cover nearly very position. Embiid can take you in the post or at the top of the key. He’s a major threat on the pick and roll as well. The Process is a major piece for years to come for the Sixers.
So, the one real thing that Embiid would want this Christmas is for everything to say in order. He’s already garnered praise from many NBA elites. The sky is the limit for the The Process. Hopefully he can reach his potential and maintain his health at the same time.