Philadelphia 76ers: Who needs to step up?

With 22 games remaining in this dreadful season for the Philadelphia 76ers, it appears that team is now in complete tank mode.  They have lost 14 straight games, which is their season long as well as the longest streak by any team in the NBA this year.

With a few tough games coming up, the streak most likely will continue to grow.  With the Sixers aiming at the number one overall pick in this summer’s draft, each loss will help make that scenario more likely.

As the season’s end approaches and the team is far from a playoff spot, most Sixers fans will hope the team loses as many games as possible.  However, this is not the case for the players who are trying to make a name for themselves in the NBA.

It is easy to say that players such as Thaddeus Young and Michael Carter-Williams have to be the ones that can lead to this team to a victory.  These two are clearly not the problem as they have had solid seasons up until this point.

This year has been Young’s best in his seven year career.  He has been highly productive on offense and a leader on both ends of the floor.

Despite being only a rookie, Carter-Williams’ play so far has been stellar.  The Sixers got away with a steal at the number 11 pick last summer.

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One thing that is certain for next year is that Young and Carter-Williams will be in the starting lineup.  Unless General Manager Sam Hinkie does something unpredictable, these two will continue to be key pieces on the Sixers roster going forward.

With these two positions spoken for and Nerlens Noel projected to be the starting center, this leaves two other starting spots as well as an entire bench that needs to be filled.  If any of the remaining Sixers players on the current roster want to be on this team next year, they need to treat these final 22 games as a tryout.

Eric Maynor and Byron Mullens both currently have player options for next season, but it appears unlikely that both will be back.  Other than those two and Jason Richardson, the rest of the team is still under contract for at least next season.

Some of the players that come to mind are Tony Wroten, James Anderson, Hollis Thompson, and Elliot Williams.  These four have been with the team the entire year and have made it clear as to what kind of ability they have.

For Tony Wroten, this is only his second season in the league and he has shown great improvement in just a year.  Last year he was with Memphis where he hardly played, but now that he has gotten time with the Sixers, he has shown that he does indeed have talent.

He is a young player that is still learning, but the potential appears to be there.  The Sixers more than likely will want to keep him around as a backup to Carter-Williams where he can continue to grow and develop.

As for the other three, their futures in Philadelphia are definitely uncertain.  Each of them has shown the ability to play at times, but they have also been significant contributors to the team’s overall poor play this season.

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Anderson and Williams were both first round picks in 2010, while Thompson was undrafted in 2012.  Out of the three, Anderson appears to be the only one that may be worth keeping.

The way the season has gone, the Sixers may want to part ways with as many players as possible.  It will probably be in the team’s best interest to continue to build through the draft and to keep adding young faces.

However, this does not mean that the current Sixers team has nothing to play for.  Other than a couple of players, the rest of the team has to play for their future in the NBA.

Opportunities are very hard to come by in professional sports, and many players may only get one chance.  If any of the players on the roster can prove that they belong, they may very well get another shot with the Sixers or another team for that matter.

Many losses lie ahead for the Sixers and it does not appear to be changing any time soon.  If they continue to play lousy and carelessly, do not expect too many of these Sixers to be anywhere in the league next season.

The time is now for them to step up and prove why they are in the NBA.  If they can show what it takes to be part of an NBA team, there is a good possibility they will be given another opportunity somewhere down the line.

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