This week will bring the day we’ve all been waiting for – time to finalize the Sixers roster. This means five (or possibly only four, if the Sixers are granted a hardship exception) players will be made to continue their pro basketball journeys elsewhere. A little while back, I discussed the 13 Sixers whom I fully expected to make the roster. Now it’s time to tackle the guys I view as having their jobs on the line:
Kendall Marshall – Still making his way back from an ACL tear suffered last season, Marshall is a cut above the rest of the point guards brought in this summer. I expect him to end up as a starter at some point this season.
Christian Wood – The undrafted free agent showed flashes of his high ceiling during preseason, and the Sixers should give the talented big man a chance by at least stashing him in Delaware for the season.
Jordan McRae – Although McRae was an effective scorer in Australia last season, playing against NBA-level competition in Summer League and preseason exposed his inefficient habits, and I would not expect him to stick around.
Pierre Jackson – Pappy Jack made his triumphant return to the court this preseason after tearing his Achilles in the summer of 2014. His preseason play was unspectacular, and I don’t think he’s done enough to earn regular season action against NBA-sized athletes.
Scottie Wilbekin – The former Florida Gator hit a stunning buzzer-beater to lead the Sixers to a preseason victory over the Cavs, but I think Wilbekin won’t be in Philly next year, unless management is higher than me on his ability to work as a spot-up shooter.
T.J. McConnell – As a ball hound on defense and floor general on offense, McConnell could be a candidate for the sixteenth roster spot, should it open up. Barring that, the Pittsburgh native and Arizona grad will be moving on.
J.P. Tokoto – As a bundle of length and athleticism, Tokoto was a classic Sam Hinkie pick this past summer; however, his struggles handling and dishing the rock portend his probable exit from Philly.
While Sam Hinkie is not one to tip his hand, he has talked recently about the importance of having shooters to dot the perimeter around Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor.
When the roster decision is revealed, the buzz will be around which point guards manage to make the team. At the beginning of training camp Hinkie declared that there would be “a heck of a battle to see which ones end up on the team,” and it certainly has been just that, notwithstanding the injuries at play.
Whatever happens this week, it is clear that this team has made giant leaps over the last couple of seasons. Not only has the talent at the top improved (Noel, Okafor, Robert Covington, etc.), but also the players on the fringes are better and better each year, making days like today all the more difficult.