It’s official. T.J. McConnell inked his two-year deal with the Indiana Pacers yesterday, cementing the departure of the final player who saw the court for the Sixers during the 2015-16 season. That squad notoriously won just 10 games, outpacing the 1973 Sixers (9-73) by a single victory for fewest wins in an 82-game season.
Of course, the losing was the point, as the league’s worst record and some lottery luck led to the selection of Ben Simmons with the first overall pick in the 2016 draft. Simmons and a healthy Joel Embiid set the foundation for the roster the Sixers have now: a top-two projected team in the Eastern Conference.
While that 2015-16 squad lacked victories, they never lacked for effort, and that lovable cast of characters worked their way into the hearts of Sixers fans everywhere. With T.J.’s departure denoting an official endpoint from that era, let’s take a look at where the 18 players who saw minutes for that Sixers team are today.
Hollis Thompson (2154 minutes played): Thompson last saw NBA minutes with the Pelicans during the 2016-17 season. In April, he signed with the Crailsheim Merlins in Germany, where he will undoubtedly shoot 40 percent from 3 for the foreseeable future.
Jerami Grant (2066 MP): Earlier this month, the Thunder traded Grant to the the Nuggets for a 2020 first-round pick. Grant is in the second year of a 3-year, $27 million deal, but with a player option for next season, Jerami will likely opt out if he has another productive season like his 2018-19 campaign.
Isaiah Canaan (1966 MP): The fact that we were pronouncing his last name incorrectly doesn’t make the Canaan-ball era any less grand. Canaan played a total of 30 games last season for the Suns, Wolves, and Bucks. He is currently unsigned in free agency.
Nerlens Noel (1965 MP): Though you probably wouldn’t want him renting a house from you, you wouldn’t mind having Nerlens protect your rim. Noel recently signed a 1-year, $2 million deal to return to the Thunder.
Robert Covington (1903 MP): After making All-Defensive First Team, RoCo was shipped to Minnesota as the main outgoing piece in the Jimmy Butler deal. A knee issue sidelined him for much of last season, but Covington will look to return for the Wolves this season as one of the best 3-and-D players in the league, in the second year of a very team-friendly, 4-year, $47 million deal to boot.
Nik Stauskas (1809 MP): Sauce Castillo played in 68 games for the Blazers and Cavaliers last season, most memorably dropping 24 points on LeBron and the Lakers back in October. Recent rumors have it that Stauskas has received offers from Real Madrid and Valencia to play in Europe.
Ish Smith (1622 MP): Ish was brought back at the urging of Jerry Colangelo and ownership to prevent the Sixers from achieving a historic level of losing. He then had a few productive years in Detroit, and recently signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Wizards.
T.J. McConnell (1606 MP): As mentioned in the open, McConnell is taking his gritness to Indiana, where he will make $7 million over the next two seasons. Not too shabby for a guy who earned himself an NBA roster spot in training camp.
Jahlil Okafor (1591 MP): Jah played in 58 games for the Pelicans last season, and saw New Orleans exercise the $1.7M club option to keep him around for the 2019-20 campaign. He’ll welcome Zion Williamson, JJ Redick, Brandon Ingram, and all the rest to Duke South.
Richaun Holmes (702 MP): After appearing in 70 games for the Suns last season, Holmes signed a 2-year, $9.8 million deal with Sacramento in free agency. I guess Vlade Divac had his eye on more than Arturas Gudaitis and Luka Mitrovic back in 2015.
JaKarr Sampson (691 MP): JaKarr appeared in 4 games for the Bulls last season, including a 29-point explosion against the Sixers. Sampson will be joining T.J. in Indiana on a 1-year, $1.7 million deal. I hope Pacers fans like having their hearts melted by someone’s smile.
Carl Landry (569 MP): Landry’s 36 games in Philadelphia saw him receive MVP chants, while also marking the last time he suited up for an NBA team. He signed with the Jilin Northeast Tigers in China back in 2017, and earlier this year, signed with the Hiroshima Dragonflies in the second division of the B.League in Japan.
Kendall Marshall (400 MP): Don’t worry, we’re not forgetting Kendall Marshall (audible groans from the Comments section). Like Landry and a few more guys below, Marshall’s time with the Sixers marked his last NBA minutes. He retired from basketball in 2017 and went back to UNC to graduate, while also serving as a student assistant coach under Roy Williams.
Elton Brand (225 MP): Those 17 games during the 2015-16 season were the last of Brand’s illustrious career. As you may have heard, Brand is currently the Sixers’ general manager, and working tirelessly toward his lifelong goal of constructing the first NBA team comprised entirely of centers. Someday, Elton.
Phil Pressey (170 MP): If you’ve heard one Alaa Abdelnaby story about having dinner with the Pressey family, you’ve heard them all. Later in that 2015-16 season, Phil played 9 games with the Suns, the last time he made his way onto an NBA court. Since 2018, he has played for Besiktas in Turkey.
Christian Wood (145 MP): The Cross continues to be the sort of Quad-A player who dominates summer league, but can’t quite carve out a regular role with an NBA rotation. Wood played a total of 21 games with the Bucks and Pelicans last season. He was claimed off waivers by the Pistons earlier this month, as part of a non-guaranteed deal.
Tony Wroten (144 MP): The man credited with coining Trust The Process has not played NBA minutes since his time in Philadelphia. Wroten signed with Estonian club Kalev/Cramo back in December, but he’ll be crossing people up and throwing down left-handed jams in West Coast events until the day he dies.
Sonny Weems (78 MP): Finally, Weems’ 7 games as a Sixer were his last in the NBA. He signed last fall with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China.