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McCaffery: A pre-camp forecast of Sixers’ Opening Night roster

PHILADELPHIA — Either because their eight-year-old, $82 million facility in Camden is not suitable for such basketball activity or because the townsfolk of some mountain town are so caught up in it all, the Sixers soon will depart for Fort Collins, Colo., for training camp.

In other words, after a courtesy media day on the New Jersey waterfront, they will run to Colorado State University and hide. But wherever he camps, new coach Nick Nurse must shave a 21-man offseason roster to 15, then reduce that to 13 for the Oct. 26 Opening Night visit from Milwaukee. And if he wants to save the travel and the trouble, he is invited to simply refer to this roster forecast and spend his off time in Colorado on the slopes.

There shall be no extra charge for the added commentary.

1. Joel Embiid: The question is exactly what body part will malfunction and when. It was the knee, remember, in the last playoffs.

As modern NBA medical situations go, he has been mostly healthy while playing 154 regular-season games in the last two years. But he is 28, has injured everything, and is the Sixers’ only true avenue to success.

2. Tyrese Maxey: Dramatically more often than not, he has shown by age 22 that he can be an enduring NBA star. But with James Harden declaring he will not play for a general manager he has likened to Pinocchio, Maxey will be the full-time point guard and with all of those added responsibilities. Harden being what he is — painful to any coach — he was an ideal backcourt complement to Maxey.

3. Tobias Harris: To no benefit to the collective waistline of the Philadelphia fan base, the $180,000,000 man will be back. That means all fans will be treated to a gourmet dessert, as part of a cross-promotion hatched after Harris blurted out that the fans would have traded him for a Crumbl Cookie. Daryl Morey didn’t, and Harris — whose fundamentals are under-appreciated but only because he is vastly overcompensated — will be back. Sweet.

4. Kelly Oubre: Throughout the offseason, the know-it-alls hedged on including the Sixers among the NBA cream largely because they didn’t have enough frontcourt scoring. But at the close of the summer, it was revealed that Morey will spring for the 6-6 free agent forward who averaged a career-high 20.3 points for Charlotte last season. Known to be a handful, thus partially explaining his five NBA stops by age 27, he will do what P.J. Tucker never will: Score.

5. P.J. Tucker: Through night after NBA night of two-point games, Doc Rivers insisted the veteran forward was an acquired taste. Turns out, he was right, as Tucker proved invaluable in the playoffs for his tip-ins, hustle, defensive efforts and corner shooting. Whether Nurse will have as much patience as Rivers is unknown.

6. De’Anthony Melton: Streaky shooter, good defender, knows his role, can play multiple positions, leads by example. Could start. A depth value to any team.

7: Paul Reed: Already on the list of all-time Sixers over-achievers, he has spent his summer redesigning himself as a four-man. That sounds ambitious, but he has improved through each of his first three seasons and thus has earned the confidence that he can make it four.

8. Patrick Beverly: Long valued for his defense, the Sixers will see if he has much left at age 35. With 65 games of NBA postseason experience and muffled expectations, he may have a surprising year left.

9. Danuel House Jr.: Never one to hedge on an opinion, Rivers never could decide last season whether he liked the 30-year-old small forward or not. But when right, and maybe Nurse can draw that out of him more, he plays with a valuable edge.

10. Mo Bamba: He’s 7-feet tall. And beyond that, he’s 7-feet tall. But since he can’t really play, he will back up Reed, who will back up Embiid. And if it gets to that point, there’s always hockey.

11. Danny Green: Georges Niang went to Cleveland in free agency, so the Sixers needed at least the threat of a three-point shooter in reserve. His deficiencies everywhere else aside, the 36-year-old is a 40-percent shooter from the arc.

12: Jaden Springer: Already into them for $10 million, the Sixers are going to have to give their 2021 first-round draft choice a real NBA chance. He can defend, has played well in the G-League, and at 21 should be ready.

13: Furkan Korkmaz: Already heading into his seventh season, he had some intriguing moments under Brett Brown. But with Rivers never feeling comfortable with him, he went into sharp decline. The coaching change could give him new professional life.

Montrezl Harrell injured his knee and will be lost for most of the season. Harden is going to go on strike. Filip Petrusev, the 2021 second-round pick, should make the 15-man roster. Terquavion Smith, a walk-on guard from North Carolina State, has the club’s attention. And David Duke Jr. and Ricky Council IV will be on the Delaware shuttle.

Good team.

Good coach.

A chance.

Contact Jack McCaffery at

Source: Berkshire mont

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