It’s an interesting question in what has been an interesting season to say the least. So, let’s take a look at the possibilities.
We will use the current salaries of every player and keep under $60,000,000. Elton Brand will not be included because he was amnestied and would prefer jail in Siberia to being on a hypothetical former 76ers roster. Each player would essentially be a clone of himself and injuries are a part of things in this exercise.
Head Coach: Aaron McKie
Asst Coach: Eric Snow
PG: Lou Williams, Andre Miller; $10,000,000
SG: Thabo Sefolosha, Kyle Korver, Jodie Meeks; $10,100,000
SF: Andre Iguodala, Matt Barnes, Mo Harkless; $17,900,000
PF: Marreese Speights, Reggie Evans; $5,800,000
C: Nik Vucevic, Samuel Dalembert; $8,400,000
If you are keeping track, that’s $52,000,000 in salary.
What would the rotation look like?
“The 2001-Esque AI Starting Lineup until Lou tears his ACL”
Lou, Thabo, ‘Dre, Evans, Dalembert. Lou would essentially take it to the rack every single possession. Thabo would be in a corner looking for the open 3 and Iguodala would be moving around depending on the play. Reggie and Sammy would only shoot the ball on Offensive Rebounds or wide open layups/dunks. The offense would be ugly, but the defense would be devastating.
“Forget About Dre Nightshift”
Miller, Korver, Barnes, Speights, Vucevic would play a much more aesthetically pleasing brand of basketball on offense. Old Man Dre is just a baller, he does what he does. Barnes and Korver are both great off the ball. Barnes is ~average from 3 and Korver is Elite. Speights has become an ~average NBA player and knockdown shooter from 16-23 feet and Vucevic has made his living in the paint this season. Vucevic has morphed into a super rebounder and Speights has turned in a magnificent rebound year in his on right.
Once the Lou Williams injury happens, McKie would shake up the starting lineup to make everything more balanced going forward. Meeks and Harkless would find little playing time, but fill out nicely if injuries were to happen and in certain situations. The team has everything that you could ask for; 3 ball handlers, multiple elite perimeter defenders, 3pt snipers, rebounding machines and interior defenders. Big and Small, this team could match up with any lineup in the NBA and would without question, have the best bench in NBA history. \
So where would they find themselves at the end of the year? Depth would really be this teams strength. 240 minutes of minutes played by legitimate top 8 rotation NBA players is unheard of.
I look at the Denver Nuggets and ask myself who is a better squad minus the ‘Dre Brothers.
Former 76ers: Lou, Kyle, Thabo, Meeks, Barnes, Mo, Reggie, SamD, Vuc, Speights
Current Nuggets: Lawson, Brewer, Chandler, Fournier, Gallo, Faried, Mcgee, Koufos
It would certainly be a close game on a neutral court as the numbers are pretty similar but the nod goes to the former 76ers squad. One major difference is the former 76ers players are a far superior team from 3pt land. The current Denver Nuggets are on pace to finish with 57 wins, if they can beat Phoenix in their home finale. Add a bunch of wins because of the absurdly weak Eastern Conference but subtract a few over the loss of Lou Williams.
As it stands, there is every reason to believe that the former 76ers of the NBA are a +60 win team this year and stand a punchers chance at dethroning the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals