Yesterday, ESPN unveiled the bottom 100 of its annual NBA Rank, and the 76ers of Philadelphia killed it. They had, not one, not two, but five representatives. That’s particularly impressive when you consider that a third of the bottom 100 are free agents.
Sacre’s Lakers were among the handful of teams that had four players in the bottom 100, but no team had more than the tanking Philadelphia 76ers, who posted five players between 401 and 500: James Anderson, Kwame Brown, Arsalan Kazemi, Tim Ohlbrecht and Royce White. The Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings were the only teams who didn’t have a player revealed on Monday.
There were 29 former first-round picks revealed Monday, with 31 former second-round picks and 40 players who went undrafted. Brown represents the highest draft pick ranked in between 401 and 500; he was the No. 1 overall pick in 2001.
Last year, the Sixers had zero in the 401-500 group, which is partially due to the arbitrariness of the sample – Arnett Moultrie was ranked 400, Royal Ivey was 375, Kwame Brown was 332. But it’s also because of a change in philosophy; the team is investing more in fringe NBA players and is fully prepared to stash them in the D-League or abroad.
The Sixers’ bottom-100 representatives, aside from Brown, are Sam Hinkie additions. Arsalan Kazemi, a rebounding machine from Iran selected in the second round, might be playing in his native country this year. Ohlbrecht, a waiver pickup, has 12 total minutes of NBA experience. The 6-foot-11 German spent most of last year in the D-League and may do the same this season. Anderson has 116 NBA games under his belt, but he too was a waiver pickup. The 2010 first round pick could get big minutes for the Sixers, who are equally thin at all five positions. But he could also wind up waived, or with the 87ers. And then there’s Royce White, the new Mr. 500. Whether he suits up for any team this season is uncertain. But having a local farm team in Delaware – and an organization willing to invest in potential – can only help his chances of getting on the court.