Since the retirement of Philly superstar and NBA bad boy Allen Iverson, the Philadelphia 76ers have had little to no success in the league, and have been in a long-term status of rebuilding. But after losing players such as Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala, the 76ers have been pretty hard on luck when it comes to retaining franchise players. Although, the 76ers have had decent luck in the draft, acquiring players like Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, once he returns from injury that is. And Robert Covington is turning into a player that the 76ers can rely on, and if the last few games are anything to go by, he’s becoming a clutch shooter, hitting several key baskets and also the game winning bucket on more than one occasion this season. So it raises the question; are the Philadelphia 76ers on the rise, and can they hope to be a playoff team in the coming years?
Let’s look at the facts for a minute. The 76ers are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and while that’s not an exceptional record, they have won against significantly tougher teams in the league, the Celtics and Raptors coming to mind. Their record is slowly improving as the season progresses, and although they won’t be a playoff team by any means this season, their odds have increased significantly with the recent performances of leading candidate for Rookie of The Year, Joel Embiid, and Robert Covington. Embiid is averaging 20 PPG and 8RPG in his rookie season, while Covington is in double digits in scoring too, and is becoming a relatively clutch scorer for Philly. Next year, maybe the year after, could be Philly’s time to get back into the playoff picture, and with Ben Simmons supposedly returning from a foot fracture injury after the All-Star break, the 76ers could become a strong force, challenging the Timberwolves for young talent. The future is bright for the young roster, but let’s just hope Embiid can keep a cool head, we don’t need another Boogie in the league.
I want to focus on Embiid for a bit, more importantly, his potential partnership with Ben Simmons when he returns. We’ve all seen the Embiid has a full game in terms of skillset, and while it’s a little raw, there’s no doubting his ability as a big man. He can post up against most players in the league due to huge size, is already a prolific shot blocker, and has the long range ability that lacks in most big men. What the 76ers are lacking though is a playmaker, somebody who can move the ball around the court. And that’s where Simmons comes in; we’ve seen from his footage of the NBA Summer League that he has a unique passing ability, with some comparing it to that of John Wall, who’s known for his flashy passes as well as his athleticism. Quite a big comparison for a rookie to live up to, but there’s no denying that Simmons has huge potential for a player who hasn’t even played in the NBA yet. Back to Philly; Embiid needs a player on the roster who can feed him the ball in the post, a quality which can be found in the injured rookie. With this in mind, Embiid will get the ball more, meaning more bullying from the big guy inside. Simmons also has a decent jumpshot, and after watching a training video released on the internet, the rookie has some bounce in his legs. If the partnership between Simmons and Embiid works, we could see a new forceful duo in the league, which can induce some excitement into Philly fans for the future. Maybe it’s time to “Trust the Process.”
That’s my thoughts on the 76ers recent improvement, and while they certainly won’t be a force in the next 2 or 3 years, a playoff spot isn’t out of the picture if Simmons and Embiid can work well together. Let me know what you think down below. Follow my blog for more, and check out my NBA Discussions page for more posts like this one. Have a look at my Twitter to see the utter shite I post on a daily basis. Enjoy your day!