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Power Ranking Every Key Philadelphia 76ers Player Before Season's End

Zachary ArthurCorrespondent IIMarch 20, 2014

Power Ranking Every Key Philadelphia 76ers Player Before Season's End

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    It's probably best to not look at the scoreboard, Mr. Carter-Williams.
    It's probably best to not look at the scoreboard, Mr. Carter-Williams.Associated Press

    The good news for the Philadelphia 76ers is that it's not difficult to come up with the top two players for the team power rankings. The bad news is how difficult it is to place the rest of the team.

    Philly has done exactly what it hoped it would by completely wasting an NBA season. The 76ers are destined to finish as one of the league's bottom-two teams and have already broken the franchise record for most consecutive losses.

    This is a bad, bad team.

    We must remember that the pain is only temporary, though. What's currently taking place is all for a much bigger pictureone that hopefully comes to fruition.

    If there aren't any wins to focus on, then it's only right to jump over to the guys who are playing every night. Here's a look at Philadelphia's power rankings as the season comes to a close.

10. Jarvis Varnado

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    Varnado has given the Sixers some much-needed shot blocking.
    Varnado has given the Sixers some much-needed shot blocking.Matt Slocum/Associated Press/Associated Press

    Jarvis Varnado might not have the most recognizable name, but Philadelphia does have the NCAA's all-time Division I leader in blocked shots with 564.

    That's a lot of shots being sent back.

    The crazy part is how unassuming he is with his 6'9", 230-pound frame. He's pretty thin by NBA standards, yet he makes up for his lack of size with great instincts and a 7'4" wingspan.

    He is only averaging 11.1 minutes per game, but his seven-point, four-block and three-rebound performance against the Chicago Bulls proves that he can do some positive things if he puts everything together.

    He's been a solid contributor in his limited time for the Sixers, even with an unknown future in the organization.

9. Elliot Williams

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    Williams is another one of Philadelphia's many young players.
    Williams is another one of Philadelphia's many young players.Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    If athleticism was the only thing that mattered in the NBA, then the Sixers wouldn't be at the bottom of the league's barrel. Players like Elliot Williams would be one of the reasons why.

    He has all of the tools from an athletic standpoint. His combination of speed, quickness and jumping ability is what some of the league's best players are made out of. The issue is that athleticism isn't all that matters in the NBA, and he's nowhere near as skilled as some of those players.

    Williams tore his Achilles in 2012, so his underwhelming numbers of 5.0 points and 1.9 rebounds per game are understandable. It'll be interesting to see what he can do after a full year of health next year, though.

8. Byron Mullens

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    Mullens has done his job while playing in Philadelphia.
    Mullens has done his job while playing in Philadelphia.Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    Byron Mullens has surprisingly done a good job of filling in the awkward-looking 7-footer role that Spencer Hawes once held as a Sixer. Everything from his appearance to his three-point stroke fits the bill.

    Since arriving in Philadelphia, he is shooting 44.0 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 2.3 three-pointers per game. Averaging 6.5 points and 3.1 rebounds in only 14.0 minutes per game means he's still making the most out of his minutes while not being dominant by any standard.

    Mullens is on his fourth team in only five seasons, which makes his long-term odds of staying in Philly less than great. It looks as though he'll have no problem being a journeyman for the rest of his career if he can continue to provide points off the bench, though.

7. Hollis Thompson

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    Thompson is another surprise on a weak Sixers roster.
    Thompson is another surprise on a weak Sixers roster.Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press/Associated Press

    Hollis Thompson's road to his individual 2013-14 success has been spectacular. It's rare to find a player go from being undrafted to starting in more than 27 games in his rookie season. Sure, he's on one of the least talented teams, but it's still an impressive feat nonetheless.

    He has scored 74 of his 139 career field-goal attempts inside the paint, which means that he's much more comfortable as a slasher than a spot-up wing shooter. He's still able to put the ball in the basket from behind the arc, though, as he's shooting 36.4 percent from out deep.

    He wasn't on many radars come draft time during the 2012 summer, but he found a home in Philadelphia. Look for the Sixers to keep him around for a while to see if he can develop even further.

6. Henry Sims

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    Sims seems to have found a home in Philadelphia.
    Sims seems to have found a home in Philadelphia.Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    Raise your hand if you thought a guy by the name of Henry Sims would be the No. 6 guy on Philadelphia's final power rankings?

    There's no way we could have even known that he'd be on the team at this point of the season, but what's more surprising is the way he's played since landing in The City of Brotherly Love. His numbers of 8.8 points and 5.9 rebounds in 24.8 minutes per game are impressive for a guy who had only played in 22 career NBA games before playing with the Sixers.

    He's not only proved that he belongs in the league, but he's shown that Philly could come into the 2014-15 season with a reliable backup center. It's probably more than the team thought it would be getting when it acquired him.

5. James Anderson

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    Anderson seems to know his role with the Sixers.
    Anderson seems to know his role with the Sixers.Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    James Anderson is the definition of a guy who knows his role and does what he's asked to on the court.

    You have to respect that.

    He was brought into Philadelphia to bolster its three-point shooting. He hadn't had the chance to get much playing time over his first three seasons, so he came as a bit of an unknown. Since then, he's averaged 10.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. He's also started in 48 of the 66 games he's played in.

    His shooting numbers aren't through the roof, but his 32 percent from three-point range is solid enough to tell him to keep shooting. It needs to be when 48.8 percent of his field-goal attempts are from behind the arc.

    Anderson is another guy with a question mark next to his future, but at the very least he should be an asset to anybody off the bench. Maybe even in Philadelphia.

4. Tony Wroten

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    Wroten's success as a sixth man has been great.
    Wroten's success as a sixth man has been great.Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    One of the most difficult—and important—positions for a basketball team to fill isn't one of the starting five. It's actually the first guy off the bench. The sixth-man position requires a player to be patient until his name is called and tenacious as a big-time playmaker once he hits the floor.

    It appears as if the Sixers found that guy in Tony Wroten.

    Watch one of his games, and you'll see someone who plays with the confidence of a starter. For better or worse, he thinks he can do everything when playing, and it shows in his numbers. Averages of 13.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 24.5 minutes per game are fantastic for a guy who's almost 21 years old and only playing in his second NBA season.

    His next step will be to improve on the defensive end of the floor. If he's able to get his defense to the level of his offensive game, then another member of Philadelphia's young core could be in store for some big things.

3. Nerlens Noel

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    Noel looks like he might be developing an NBA body.
    Noel looks like he might be developing an NBA body.Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    You know it's been a bad year when a guy who has yet to see the court comes in at No. 3 on the power rankings. Still, that's the position that Philadelphia is in, and Nerlens Noel happens to be that guy.

    The verdict is still out on whether or not he'll play this season, but Thaddeus Young told Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com that Noel is doing some very nice things in four-on-four work thus far:

    He is very athletic and you can see signs of what he can be. He is a great shot blocker and a guy who is going to bring a lot of energy into the game. That is the biggest thing -- getting him back to 100 percent so he can give all his energy to the game. He is going to be able to dictate a lot of things that go on defensively.

    He is one of the quickest guys I have seen off his feet. One time we were going at each other and he altered my shot and I got the rebound and he was already off his feet again. He can probably jump three or four times before somebody jumps twice.

    It all sounds enticing. Noel's presence has the potential to add wins on the schedule, and not many players have that ability.

    Unfortunately, we'll just have to wait and see.

    It's becoming less and less likely that we'll see him this season, so we might have to settle for the 2014-15 season. His yearlong absence was no fun, but other high draft picks have missed their entire rookie seasons due to injury and come back just fine.

    One name you might recognize is Blake Griffin.

    Philly fans would be more than happy to see Noel have a career like Griffin's.

2. Thaddeus Young

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    Young has a ton of NBA experience for a 25-year-old.
    Young has a ton of NBA experience for a 25-year-old.Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    It's kind of crazy to think that Thaddeus Young is playing in his seventh NBA season. If it feels like he's been in Philadelphia for a really long time, it's because he has. His first year was the 2007-08 season under head coach Maurice Cheeks, and he's the only Sixers player remaining who was a part of the team's impressive 2011-12 playoff run.

    Want to know the crazy thing, though? He'll only be turning 26 years old over the summer.

    Philadelphia is tanking, which has to be difficult for Young, but there's still every reason in the world to think that he will be a part of the team's future—one with a great potential for success.

    Almost all of his 2013-14 numbers are career highs, including 17.8 points, 2.3 assists and 2.2 steals, which put him at No. 3 in that category. His 6.1 rebounds are only behind last year's 7.5, so he hasn't really slacked off in that area much at all.

    Young's game is continuing to improve. He might be young by society's standards, but his experience, coupled with his skill set, makes him one of the team's most valuable players moving forward.

1. Michael Carter-Williams

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    Carter-Williams is a new kind of point guard.
    Carter-Williams is a new kind of point guard.Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    Michael Carter-Williams is the future at Philadelphia's point guard position. He's done more than enough in his rookie season to prove that.

    He is a new breed of point guard. At 6'6", he's able to take skills that shorter guards utilize and raise them to a new level. If he has to lock down and play defense, his 1.95 steals per game prove he can accomplish that. If the team needs somebody to rebound the ball, then he might as well point to his 5.8 rebounds per game.

    He's nowhere close to his peak when it comes to shooting, but averaging 16.8 points and 6.2 assists means that he has the offensive game to run a team.

    Thaddeus Young's solid season isn't the biggest surprise, but people didn't expect Carter-Williams to be playing at this level when the Sixers took him with the No. 11 pick in the 2013 draft.

    He's at the top of Philadelphia's power rankings for that reason.

     

    All statistics in this article are accurate as of games played through March 19th.

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