This once-fun regular season is finally coming to an end, and after doing some number crunching, it’s become apparent that the 2015 76ers will not be getting one of those coveted 16 playoff spots.
But here’s a fun hypothetical: if the Sixers disbanded and their players were put in a playoff draft pool, who would be the best fit where?
We’ll start with …
Henry Sims, Atlanta Hawks. Sims probably isn’t cracking Atlanta’s rotation. (Note: recurring theme.) But think of all the garbage time minutes the most boring Sixer could potentially get on the most boringly good team in the league in a first round series with the resoundingly boring Nets/Pacers. Henry Sims sees that NBA Channel limelight, and he wants to bask in it, damn it.
Nerlens Noel, Cleveland Cavaliers. The only thing the Cavs are lacking – though it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest they’re lacking anything, really – is a big rim protector who can come off the bench and anchor the defense while Mozgov is out of the game. WHOOPS. The Cavs have done a commendable job of building a roster around LeBron that already has them in a position to win this year. But you know Cavs fans are lamenting the first preview of the Iriving/Wiggins/James/Noel lineup that very well could have been.
Ish Smith, Toronto Raptors. Purely for Kyle Lowry insurance purposes. Greivis Vasquez is a solid backup, and so is sixth man of the year candidate Lou Williams. But the latter isn’t exactly a dish-first guard, and if Lowry goes down, Ish could work his way into the role of the distributor the North needs. (In transitioning from Nerlens Noel to Jonas Valanciunas, he may need to soften up his lobs accordingly.)
Thomas Robinson, Chicago Bulls. It’s understandable the Bulls never took a flier on T-Rob – the back of their bench is to Tom Thibodeau what Platform 9 3/4 is to non-wizards – but if he managed to stumble into some playing time, Robinson would be such a Bull. Can you imagine him and Noah crashing the boards at the same time, specifically the bone-chilling, United Center-threatening sound that would create? Would the Bucks/Wizards even bother going for rebounds?
Brett Brown, Washington Wizards. Cheating a bit, sure, but note that we can’t help out all 16 playoff teams with a 15-man roster. In a way, Brown is the most immediate improvement on this list. John Wall and Bradley Beal are still young enough that Brown and his relentless enthusiasm could get through to them in a way that perhaps Randy “I hate 3-pointers and walk off the court before the game ends” Wittman can’t.
Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee’s already been gifted Michael Carter-Williams, and last night’s 30-point outburst in Philly notwithstanding, many Bucks fans are wishing to re-gift Michael Carter-Williams. So what better way to mend the situation than by giving them back their 2008 second-round pick? The Young Bucks amassed plenty of athletic freaks – Greek and otherwise – since LRMAM’s departure in 2013, and his triumphant return could provide a healthy does of reality as to what your standard NBA player looks like.
Glenn Robinson III, Boston Celtics. The Celtics have a good chance of being swept by Cleveland in the first round, but at least one day GR3 will be able to tell GR5 about the time he played against LeBron — or, more accurately, the Cavs bench — in the 2015 playoffs.
Tony Wroten, Brooklyn Nets. Between Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack, the Nets’ backcourt isn’t exactly what you’d call a flight risk. Though the Nets obviously won’t have Wroten for this season’s playoffs – appropriate, as there’s no point wasting an active player on this sweep-to-be – he’d score 20 a game if healthy, disorienting defenses while also ruining his own offense’s efficiency. (This applies to Indiana as well.)
Furkan Aldemir, Golden State Warriors. The Warriros don’t need another big man. They don’t need another anything. But can you imagine Furkan grabbing offensive boards on multiple possessions and sending them back out to open Splash Brothers 3’s? Oracle Arena would absolutely love this guy. I can already see them erecting his statue outside the stadium, much to Steph’s befuddlement.
Hollis Thompson, San Antonio Spurs. Since the All-Star break, Hollis is fifth in the NBA in 3-point percentage among players with over 100 attempts. In the Spurs’ system, he’d nail five 3s a night and become an elite defender. You know this but you cannot stop it.
Jason Richardson, Los Angeles Clippers. Gives the vet a chance to chase a ring, adds some leadership to the always weird Clippers chemistry, and gives their bench – one of the weakest in the playoffs – some density. Plus, it re-unites J-Rich with old teammate Spencer Hawes!
Isaiah Canaan, Portland Trail Blazers. The recent injuries to C.J. McCollum and Nicolas Batum — along with Wes Matthews’ from March — leaves Portland in desperate need of backcourt help. Canaan might not be able to provide that in any extended role, but a few timely Canaan balls wouldn’t hurt.
Jerami Grant, Houston Rockets. Jerami goes to Houston, still gets more playing time than K.J., and K.J.’s mom single-handedly raises the national security level.
Robert Covington, Memphis Grizzlies. Why is a team that’s so perennially in contention, always seemingly at the cusp of the next level, so reluctant to add this basic, fundamental need of bench perimeter sccoring? You can’t say this about many guys on this list, but if Memphis added RoCo today, they’re a better team.
Jakarr Sampson, Dallas Mavericks. I want to see JaKarr interact with Rajon Rondo. I want to see JaKarr interact with Monta Ellis. I want to see JaKarr interact with Dirk, and Tyson Chandler, and Mark Cuban — he could Shark Tank pitch him a new section of the stadium called the “Dallas High-Flyers’ Club.” I want 13 photos of JaKarr clubbing with Chandler Parsons and Amar’e to drop at once like a Netflix show. Jakarr to the Mavs – I have a weird hunch it could lead them to a first-round upset.
Joel Embiid, New Orleans Pelicans/OKC Thunder. A Joel Embiid-Anthony Davis frontcourt — even with Joel Embiid in a walking boot on the bench — might be the NBA’s most exciting big man duo. Second to Enes Kanter and Joel Embiid…