Sixer bigs Jah Okafor (left) and Nerlens Noel.
By Peter Gleason
The Sixers open training camp in Longport, N. J., today, and with all that has happened to this franchise-on-the-rise during the offseason, it is worth summing that up.
And here is the great David Aldrige’s take from NBA.com:
ADDED: G Nik Stauskas (via trade from Sacramento); F Carl Landry (via trade from Sacramento); C Jahlil Okafor (first round, 3rd pick); G Pierre Jackson (four years, $3.7 million)
LOST: F Thomas Robinson (signed with Brooklyn)
THE KEY MAN: CEO Scott O’Neil. O’Neil has to take a lot of the bullets from the public and from advertisers and corporate sponsors while GM Sam Hinkie lays deep, deep, deep, deep undercover. Don’t get me wrong. No one has to hold any telethons for O’Neil; he’s well-paid for his work and he’s a grown man. But it is a tough job having to explain what the Sixers are doing to those who are paying for the season tickets and buying the advertising.
THE SKINNY: The Sixers were hoping to take D’Angelo Russell with the third pick, but when the Lakers scotched those plans, Philly had to “settle” for Okafor, the consensus first-team All-American as a freshman for Duke who many had pegged as the first overall pick. By far the best big man Philly’s had since this, uh, rebuild began, Okafor will improve the looks of a team that was sixth in three-point attempts last season, but just 11th in 3-pointers made.
Stauskas, who shot a decent 37 percent on threes in his rookie season playing off of Kings All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, should do better with copious minutes at the two. Philly can only hope that Tony Wroten (torn ACL) returns to form at the point after playing just 15 games last season. There isn’t much proven talent behind him. It’s a long, long way back to respectability in Philly — made harder by another season lost to injury for Joel Embiid — but at least the skeleton of a decent starting five (with Nerlens Noel at center) is starting to come together.