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Will The Process Make The Playoffs?
Notable Players Acquired: SG J.J. Redick (free agency), PF Amir Johnson (free agency), PG Markelle Fultz (draft)
Notable Players Lost: G Sergio Rodriguez (free agent), C Tiago Splitter (free agent)
The 76ers showed signs of promise and potential in 2016-17 despite finishing 28-54, 14 in the Eastern Conference.
This was without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons, who missed the whole season after breaking his foot. He’ll be ready to roll in 2017-18.
Positives from the 2016-17 season:
- Joel Embiid, the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, finally saw the court after sitting out the first two years of his career. He appeared in 31 games and averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.1 assists per game. He sat out the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus.
- The team’s 28 wins were the most from Philadelphia since the 2012-13 season when the 76ers won 34 games.
- T.J. McConnell, an undrafted player, proved he has a place in this league, starting 51 games and averaging 6.9 points and 6.6 assists per game.
- Embiid still hasn’t proven he can stay healthy for an entire season. When he’s playing, he’s one of the league’s best big men and he proved that in just 31 games. But in order to prove his value, he, of course, has to stay on the court.
The Big Question
Can this core stay healthy? Embiid showed promise in the 31 games last season, but let’s not forget he missed the first two seasons of his career and 51 games last season. Simmons missed his entire rookie campaign. The playoffs sound great, especially adding Redick and Fultz, but if one of these core players, just like any team, suffers a major injury, that dream will fade quickly.
We have some college connections here.
Embiid played his freshman year with Timberwolves wing Andrew Wiggins at Kansas, while fellow big man Jahlil Okafor played his freshman year at Duke with Tyus Jones. Okafor and Jones won the 2015 National Championship with Jones being named Most Outstanding Player.
Our friend Tim Faklis said it best. If you’re a 76ers fan, you have to be thinking playoffs. But you also have to think realistic. This is a core that has never played together. Embiid and Simmons need to prove they aren’t injury prone. Fultz should be great, but he hasn’t played in an NBA game yet. We can’t crown the 76ers yet, although things seem the best they have since “The Process” started.
I’m predicting playoffs, especially with hit the Eastern Conference has taken this offseason.