It is finally time for the young and healthy Philadelphia 76ers to start moving forward. After three years of mediocre performance in the NBA, the team is optimistic that this season will be different.
With all the lottery picks Philadelphia have made over the last four years, finally here and healthy, Brett Brown’s group could be on the cusp of better days. There is a lot of optimism surrounding the fresh Sixers team and although it took them three years, their labor is now beginning to bear fruit.
A potential power duo is brewing inside the Sixers line-up with rookies Ben Simmons (this year’s no.1 pick) and Joel Embiid (No.3 in 2014), who both bring a combination of size and skills. Embiid is a 7-2 center with deft footwork and soft touch while Simmons is a 6-10 forward with a point guard passing skill.
Embiid has been sidelined for almost three years because of injuries, but according to his doctors, he is cleared to play for the upcoming season. The 21-year-old Cameroon native says he is “healthy, ready to go, and can’t wait” for their first game.
Simmons is proving his worth by competing in the Utah Jazz and Samsung NBA Summer Leagues, according to a Sixers report. The 240-pound, Australian forward accounted for 10.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game over six outings.
Embiid and Simmons should be the focal points of the Sixers’ defense and offense for years to come. With their athleticism and if they remain healthy, they could potentially become a powerful force in the NBA.
Another rookie also worth mentioning is Dario Saric, whom the team acquired in a 2014 draft night trade with Orlando. Saric went on honing his skills with Turkish Basketball Super League affiliate Anadolu Efes where he posted several personal bests, considering the level of competition he was going up against. He also delivered a strong showing at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where he suited up for Croatia.
As general manager Bryan Colangelo said at Media Day, “We’re on the verge of establishing things above grade, things that hopefully move this organization forward. We’re looking ahead with a lot of excitement and a lot of anticipation of where it might go.”
Signs certainly appear to be pointing towards that possibility.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Tipton/Flickr