Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/19/14

The Celtics’ saving grace — or their biggest problem, depending on how one looks at it — is that for all their roster juggling this offseason, they might not even finish in the bottom third of their own division this season. The Raptors are as bad as ever, and while trading away Andrea Bargnani may be this year’s second-biggest case of addition by subtraction, they are still saddled with the No. 1 case in Rudy Gay. Down I-95, the Philadelphia 76ers are going to be bad, and they have embraced it. They will be lucky to win 30 games with a squad that could consist of hearty helpings of Jason Richardson, Lavoy Allen and Kwame Brown — and that’s if most things go right. However bad the Sixers figure to be, though, they will at least be interesting. They accomplished that by stockpiling some of the summer’s most intriguing reclamation projects, assuring diehard fans will have reason to stay updated on not just the big club, but the D-League affiliate as well. Sheer curiosity will prevent anyone from looking away for too long. Last week’s acquisition of Reeves Nelson via the D-League expansion draft was the latest example of the Sixers’ shrug-and-jump-in rebuilding plan. Added to the draft-day deal for Nerlens Noel and the July trade for Royce White, as well as the longshot hope that Evan Turner will finally fulfill his potential, Nelson’s addition proves that no leap of faith is too daunting for the Sixers. In a world of once-touted high school players who fizzled out before logging a minute in the NBA, Nelson manages to stand out. He was dismissed from UCLA’s program as a junior in 2011, but not because of trouble with the law or drugs. According to several reports, he was just an irredeemable jerk, and coach Ben Howland got sick of him. Worst of all, Nelson wasn’t a particularly good basketball-playing jerk, either. He played a couple D-League games for the Lakers’ affiliate, went to play in Lithuania and got booted from there, too. At 21 years old, he is already running out of chances to make an impact in the NBA, and this shot with the Delaware 87ers might well be his last shot. Of course, simply behaving himself won’t be enough for Nelson to stick with Philly. He also has to prove he can play. Noel and White, by contrast, face no such questions about their playing ability, and that almost makes them trickier cases for the Sixers. Noel could be a defensive game-changer if he recovers well from knee surgery, which was a career-altering procedure just 10 years ago. White captivates scouts with his ballhandling and court vision at the forward spot, but complications related to his anxiety disorder kept him from ever taking the court as a rookie with the Rockets and ended with a messy series of conflicting written statements between his representatives and the team. Keeping them around is not as risk-free as a D-League flier on Nelson or anybody else. The Sixers have made a significant investment in Noel and a smaller one in White — roughly $14.5 million over five years and an All-Star point guard in Jrue Holiday for Noel, plus about $6.2 million for White if they exercise every option remaining on his deal. In a vacuum, Nelson’s addition therefore would not be noteworthy. If he suddenly grows up and makes the roster this season, it would be a nice story, but not one that anyone is counting on. But given the big gambles the Sixers have already taken, their decision to take a chance, however small, on Nelson in the D-League expansion draft raised an eyebrow. New general manager Sam Hinkie‘s rebuilding plan thus far has been simple to figure out: If it lives, breathes and can bounce a basketball, get it to sign on the dotted line and see what happens. It’s not exactly “Here goes nothing.” It will be “something,” but what kind of “something” it will be is anyone’s guess. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here. Filed under: Ben Watanabe, NBA, Opinion, Philadelphia 76ers, Top Stories

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Darrelle Revis, Ndamukong Suh exchange words after game

Curt Schilling's son causes scare at Logan Airport

Manziel's girlfriend tells Browns to put Johnny Football in

Scalpers in Detroit selling free Jets-Bills tickets for $125

Report: Redskins could bench Robert Griffin III

Broncos have meeting with scoreboard operator

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Cowboys could still pursue Adrian Peterson

Manny Pacquiao: I'm ready to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr.

John Calipari gets daughter's birthday wrong

Carson: Hall of Fame career not worth concussion problems

Tiger hires new swing coach

Is Sting making his WWE debut at Survivor Series?

Video: RG3 gets crushed, his linemen look unfazed

WATCH: Robert Griffin III takes vicious helmet-to-helmet hit

WATCH: Dominic Raiola tries to cheap-shot Patriots' lineman

WATCH: Janoris Jenkins returns interception 99 yards for TD

WATCH: TY Hilton chokes up in emotional postgame interview

WATCH: Chris Clemons accidentally knocks ref's hat off

WATCH: Aaron Rodgers throws nifty TD across his body

WATCH: LeGarrette Blount does Antonio Brown's end zone dance

WATCH: Eagles take opening kickoff 107 yards for TD

Western Carolina coach blasts Kirk Herbsreit

WATCH: Young reporter asks Helfrich funny question

Sager makes first appearance since leukemia diagnosis

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Dominic Raiola admits to dirty play

WATCH: Revis, Suh exchange words

Manziel's GF wants her man to play

Cowboys to pursue Adrian Peterson?

Cal gets daughter's bday wrong

Carson: Career not worth concussions

Report: Gundy pursuing Florida job

Tiger hires new swing coach

WATCH: Jameis Winston shoves ref

Florida DL supports Will Muschamp with eye black

Jay Gruden: RG3 has been 'coddled'

LeBron: Love needs to 'demand' the ball

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.