With rosters set to expand to 17 players when the season resumes, who should the Philadelphia 76ers add to the team before heading to Orlando?
Coming into the season, many people had the Philadelphia 76ers as the favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Before Adam Silver hit pause on the NBA season, the Sixers were an underachieving team despite having the best home record in the NBA (29-2). Some rules changes are coming that can seriously benefit this underwhelming 76ers team.
As the NBA gets ready to send 22 teams down to Orlando to play in a “bubble” finish the season amidst social unrest and a global pandemic, more details continue to emerge about the possible rule changes as the NBA has had to adapt to the times to salvage whatever season they have left.
The 22 teams heading to Orlando are set to play eight more regular-season games starting July 30th before the postseason begins. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the expected NBA season schedule once everyone makes it to the bubble.
Multiple roster rules have been agreed upon by both the NBA Board of Governors and the NBPA are set to go into effect with the league’s resumption. All players have the option of not going to Orlando without punishment, but if they aren’t excused for medical reasons, any player that sits out will see a reduction of pay for each game they miss. Any player that decides not to join their team in Orlando must notify their respective teams by June 24th.
The rule change I find most interesting is teams will be allowed to bring as many as 17 players to Orlando, including 14 or 15 players on a standard NBA contract and additional two-way spots.
Bobby Marks and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that for the remainder of the regular season, rosters would expand to 17, with 15 active players and two reserves. Still, playoff rosters will remain at 15 players max, with 13 active players.
As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, there will be a one-week transaction period in late June that will allow all 30 NBA teams to waive or sign a player (except for international players who were not on an NBA team this season). During this time, an organization can convert two-way players to a standard contract as well.
How can this benefit the Philadelphia 76ers, you ask?
The NBA will allow players who suffer injuries or fall ill due to COVID-19 to be replaced by a substitution player, but any player who gets replaced will be ruled out for the season regardless of the reason.
After rewarding Norvel Pelle with an NBA contract in February, the Sixers now have 16 players on its active roster, including one player on a two-way contract in Marial Shayok. They can convert Shayok, who has excelled in the G League, to an NBA contract, but that seems unlikely because even if they bring him to Orlando, he will likely not be part of the playoff roster when the roster sizes are set to decrease by two.
The Sixers technically have an empty spot they can fill already but, if they decided to waive anyone on the current roster such as Raul Neto or Kyle O’Quinn both of whom are on expiring contracts and rarely see the court, the Sixers would have the option to sign a player or two out of the free agency pool.
The beauty of this new rule is just because the Sixers sign someone doesn’t mean they will automatically make the active router; they can be slotted into one of the reserve roles. With that being said, the Sixers need help, and I sure hope that if Elton Brand decides to sign one of the players from my list that Brett Brown gives them a chance to help elevate this team to the next level.