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Predicting the Roles and Impact of Each Philadelphia 76ers Newcomer This Season

Zachary ArthurCorrespondent IIAugust 21, 2014

Predicting the Roles and Impact of Each Philadelphia 76ers Newcomer This Season

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    The Philadelphia 76ers are getting ready to put a lot of newcomers on the floor.
    The Philadelphia 76ers are getting ready to put a lot of newcomers on the floor.Fernando Medina/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia 76ers have more NBA newcomers than a kindergarten class, and finding a role for each of them will be a difficult task.

    There are some very important holes for people to step up and fill within Philadelphia's roster. The team needs another scorer off the bench, a lock-down perimeter defender and some kind of interior presence to name a few.

    There happens to be some positive news, though.

    Believe it or not, but there's more than enough firepower in the new talent to come in and fill specific voids. The Sixers' offseason was dedicated toward finding success in the draft and among undrafted free-agents.

    Let's see how they did by evaluating the impact and roles of Philadelphia's newcomers for the upcoming season.

Ronald Roberts Jr.

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    Roberts Jr. surprised most with how well he played in Orlando.
    Roberts Jr. surprised most with how well he played in Orlando.John Raoux/Associated Press

    Ronald Roberts Jr. should have gotten the hardest worker award for his play in the Orlando Summer League.

    It's one thing to go out there and look like you're giving it your all. Empty hustle is just that, though: empty. It's another thing to outwork all nine other players on the floor and be productive at the same time.

    That's exactly what Roberts Jr. accomplished, and he made it more than fun to watch.

    The Sixers can't expect anything more than a ridiculous motor out of the St. Joseph's product. The offense will never be run through him, but he'll keep possessions alive on a consistent basis. His explosiveness off the ground will come in handy on the offensive glass. Quick decision-making could even prove to be a threat on the defensive end as well.

    Minutes will come slowly at first, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him hit double-digit playing time on a more consistent basis as the season moves forward.

     

    2014-15 Projected Stats:

    MinutesPointsRebounds

    Assists

    StealsBlocks
    9.13.34.10.50.60.8

Nerlens Noel

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    Seeing Nerlens Noel finally hit the floor was fantastic.
    Seeing Nerlens Noel finally hit the floor was fantastic.Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

    Feel free to take a deep breath everybody.

    Nerlens Noel played a lot of regulated basketball over the summer and walked away from it healthy and ready to contribute toward the upcoming season.

    Cbssports.com's James Herbert was able to interview Noel about what getting injured meant to him. Here's what Noel had to say:

    I've grown a world. I've matured so much. Being able to be put in a position that I was put in, even being hurt and having to do what I did with the draft process and handle all the things I did being hurt, not many players are in the position of the limelight of a draft or a season. Not being able to show what I was capable of doing the whole time was probably the most frustrating part.

    Noel isn't a newcomer by the draft's standards, but this will be his rookie season. Being able to say that you've matured since being drafted without playing any NBA basketball is an amazing step.

    Hopefully it will make the transition that much better.

    Noel won't be too different from what he was in college when it comes to his offense. He's going to be solid off the pick-and-roll, as well as playing above the rim. You'll see him taking some 12-foot jumpers here and there, but they'll come few and far between.

    There might be a learning curve on offense, but we'll see Noel make more than enough plays on the defensive end of the floor. There's no question that his shot-blocking ability will translate perfectly into the NBA. Noel will just need to work on getting physically stronger so that he's able to handle any type of body he encounters in the paint.

    Noel truly has a legitimate shot at winning the Rookie of the Year award. Hopefully he stays healthy enough to do that.

     

    2014-15 Projected Stats:

    MinutesPointsRebounds

    Assists

    StealsBlocks
    24.69.78.51.41.82.4

Joel Embiid

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    Embiid will have a lot to prove. There's just a good chance it'll have to be next season.
    Embiid will have a lot to prove. There's just a good chance it'll have to be next season.Brian Babineau/Getty Images

    Joel Embiid has spent the offseason rehabbing from foot surgery and becoming one of the most popular people on Twitter. Very little focus has been put toward his return to the basketball court.

    Embiid's surgery in June was coupled with a projected recovery date of five to eight months. If we do the math on that, then we see his return is anywhere from November to February. Those dates are interesting considering that Noel was given a similar return date after he tore his left ACL in February of 2013.

    We all know what happened with Noel, though.

    Philadelphia will likely take the same step with Embiid as they did last season with Noel. Expect the Sixers to be eerily quiet about what their plans are, only to prolong announcing a return date until it's too late to.

    The frustrating but realistic part of the situation is that the plan described above is the correct one. There isn't much use in rushing such a young and talented player back onto the floor, only to have him re-injure himself and have to sit out longer.

    It might take some time to see Embiid make his NBA debut, but at least we have his Twitter profile.

    It will certainly help ease the sting.

     

    2014-15 Projected Stats: None. Embiid will get Noel's treatment and sit for all of next season.

Jerami Grant

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    Grant could be a good player one day, but he's a bit too underdeveloped to make that happen right away.
    Grant could be a good player one day, but he's a bit too underdeveloped to make that happen right away.Jack Arent/Getty Images

    Jerami Grant offers an intangible that few players on this list possess.

    His length is his best attribute and one that allows him to do a number of things on the court. The first and most important of which is to rebound. Grant was inconsistent with nearly every aspect of his play during Summer League basketball, but rebounding stuck out as an area where he can certainly succeed.

    Unfortunately, he's unlikely to be able to put his abilities on display for the entire upcoming season.

    The reasoning? He's better suited for the D-League at this point of his career. His body hasn't matured enough for the Sixers to be able to rely on him. Sure, he'll most likely play in some NBA games this season, but he'll be better off working his way through D-League action.

     

    2014-15 Projected Stats:

    MinutesPointsRebounds

    Assists

    StealsBlocks
    6.21.61.50.60.40.6

KJ McDaniels

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    McDaniels could be Philadelphia's most impressive rookie.
    McDaniels could be Philadelphia's most impressive rookie.Nick Laham/Getty Images

    KJ McDaniels has the potential to be the Sixers' most impressive or most disappointing rookie at season's end. That's the amount of responsibility that will be put onto the young man's shoulders.

    There are a number of roles in which he could end up playing. Each of them, though, would have to have the same foundation.

    The base of the pyramid is for McDaniels to be a defensive stopper. Don't be surprised to see him with the responsibility of defending the opposing team's best player on a near-nightly basis. He possesses every athletic tool in order to succeed in that space, so he'll have to step up and accomplish just that.

    His next step will be to become a consistent threat on the offensive end.

    McDaniels isn't going to need to score 15 points per game in order to be labeled a success, but he'll have to be ready at all times to strike in whatever situation presents itself. That involves everything from knocking down open looks to slashing and getting to the rim off the dribble. Offense won't be the most crucial part of his game, but it will be important nonetheless.

    McDaniels' final task is going to be to adapt to every situation thrown his way. It will end up being his most difficult job because there's no telling how he'll be used. One night he could get 30 minutes, only to see 10 in the following game.

    Nothing will be guaranteed for McDaniels, but it will give him a chance to earn everything he does get.

     

    2014-15 Projected Stats:

    MinutesPointsRebounds

    Assists

    StealsBlocks
    20.28.53.41.71.60.7

Pierre Jackson

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    Jackson still has every opportunity to have a successful career, despite being injured.
    Jackson still has every opportunity to have a successful career, despite being injured.Fernando Medina/Getty Images

    One of the most intriguing moves of the NBA draft happened to be Philadelphia acquiring Pierre Jackson through a trade. It seemed like the Sixers were looking to capitalize on Jackson's impressive scoring ability, and the next step was to get him onto the court.

    They just didn't expect for his time to be cut short.

    While playing in the Orlando Summer League, Jackson ended up tearing his right Achilles after only six minutes and 55 seconds of playing time. He showed flashes of offensive prowess as he already had seven points, but the most basic of steps ended up being the one that ended his season.

    The injury might have been a season-ending one, yet Philadelphia made an interesting move in deciding to sign Jackson to a one-year contract. The initial reaction is to ask why would a team sign a guy if there was no way that he was going to play?

    The answer is simply "draft rights."

    Philadelphia needed to sign Jackson in order to keep his draft rights and make sure he was around for next season.

    Jackson's role was quickly defined as soon as he reached down for his foot. He won't be playing in any of the 2014-15 season. However, his future isn't in too much jeopardy, apart from successfully recovering from his injury.

    He has every opportunity to be a successful player in both the NBA and for the Sixers. A little patience will just be needed first.

     

    2014-15 Projected Stats: Injured and won't play.

Jordan McRae

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    McRae had the best Summer League out of every Sixer.
    McRae had the best Summer League out of every Sixer.Bart Young/Getty Images

    One of the most surprising players in all of the Las Vegas Summer League was Jordan McRae.

    McRae played a very mature style of basketball, and it seemed to have been a result of playing four years of college basketball. He never went about scoring in a selfish manner, yet he consistently found ways to put the ball in the hoop. His best and most effective method was by getting out on the fast break.

    It's that skill which will be most important for Philly during the upcoming season.

    The Sixers played the NBA's fastest-paced basketball last year, and it's crucial for them to build a team of players who fit that profile. Expect McRae to be exactly that kind of player when the upcoming season rolls around.

    It wouldn't be surprising to see him start in around 15-20 games, as he's talented enough to do just that. His effectiveness off the bench will be better suited for the team, though. McRae is and will be a scorer during the 2014-15 season.

    And there's nothing wrong with that.

     

    2014-15 Projected Stats:

    MinutesPointsRebounds

    Assists

    StealsBlocks
    12.57.31.61.30.40.3

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