Brett Brown: 76ers’ have just six NBA players
Many advanced stats, in basketball and other sports, rely on a concept called a replacement player. A replacement player is a hypothetical player who can easily be obtained to fill out the roster.
In his definition of an NBA replacement player, Kevin Pelton says a team of replacement players would win 10 games in a season. So, that should show the level of a replacement player is pretty low.
Yet, every season, for one reason or another, there are many NBA players who produce at below replacement levels. This season, it seems many of those sub-replacement-level players will be members of the 76ers.
Michael Carter-Williams, James Anderson, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, and Spencer Hawes are the clear starters. The second thing is that power forward/center Lavoy Allen is an experienced NBA player who is finding his way back into shape.
“And after that, who knows?” Sixers coach Brett Brown said before Monday’s 104-93 setback to Cleveland in Columbus, Ohio. “You have six NBA players and then you have a bunch of guys who are fighting for spots and want to be seen and need opportunity.”
The former San Antonio Spurs assistant is not including injured players - rookie Nerlens Noel (torn anterior cruciate ligament) and veterans Jason Richardson (knee), Kwame Brown (hamstring), and Arnett Moultrie (ankle). All have guaranteed contracts and are expected make the 15-man roster.
But only a little.
Though Morris, Wroten and Orton played in the NBA last season, they’re not necessarily NBA players anymore. Vander Blue, Mac Koshwal, Gani Lawal, Hollis Thompson, Royce White, Rodney Williams and Khalif Wyatt all want a spot on the roster, and the Riggin’-for-Wiggins 76ers are just the team to accommodate.
This is a large group of flawed players, and Philadelphia will keep whomever it believes can help most down the road. That’s obviously a difficult judgment to make with players like these, so the small margins can matter a great deal.
Experience alone won’t cut it. Brown is in a rare position to demand a lot from a large share of his roster, because the 76ers have relatively few highly paid players. These 10 players are really going to have to bust their hump to make the roster.
As Brown is all too happy to remind them, they’re not really NBA players yet.