During the 2017 offseason, there were many interesting and exciting subjects. The Minnesota Timberwolves acquiring Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving’s trade request, Paul George to Oklahoma City. But one that seems to top the all is the team who merely two years ago was the laughingstock of the NBA. That’s right, the Philadelphia 76ers.
In the past few years, they were routinely one on the worst teams in the league. No stars, no hopes, nothing. But that has all started to change. One of the main factors for that change has been the draft, where they have steadily produced assets. Joel Embiid, the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 draft, played amazing in his rookie year of 2017 (he was injured the previous years), Ben Simmons was selected with the first overall pick in the 2016 Draft, and though he was injured the following season, he is fresh and ready for his rookie year. Also, don’t forget Markelle Fultz, the first overall pick of this year’s draft. He is overloaded with talent and will make a great part of the trio of himself, Simmons, and Embiid.
They also drafted Jahlil Okafor out of Duke with the third overall pick in 2015, and though he has been having some troubles getting into the line-up, he could still be used in the low post. They also acquired Dario Saric from the Orlando Magic for Elfrid Payton on a draft night swap. Saric spent a couple years playing overseas, and then played for the Sixers and was one of the top candidates for Rookie of the Year.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) June 26, 2017
They still have Robert Covington, who has been one of the most reliable players on the team for years now, and they also acquired the dagger three-point shooter J.J. Redick from the Los Angeles Clippers.
— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) July 1, 2017
With all of that being said, let’s move the spotlight back to Ben Simmons. Simmons played amazing at LSU, showcasing his incredible ability every game. He is just shy of seven-feet tall, with a wingspan the same length. He has shown an incredible leaping ability, with almost a 42-inch vertical. When he drives, the defenders are powerless to stop him. He enforces his will on the defense, and makes his way to the rim with ease. He is a great leader and his passing ability is impeccably good.
He has been compared to the great LeBron James, and you can certainly make that comparison, what with the court savvy and on-court prowess that he possesses. His jump shot will be an incredibly important factor this next year, as he did struggle with it in his lone college year.
But, as James himself showed, a jump shot can be drastically improved with hard work and practice. The offense will most likely run through Simmons, as he does look like he will be the best scorer out of Embiid and Fultz. And that is why, personally speaking, he will be the Rookie of the Year.
With everything that could be said being spoken, the Sixers will only end up as the seventh seed and go home in the first round. They simply don’t have the veteran leadership or coaching ability that will bring them any farther than the first round. The 76ers will still be a very exciting team to watch come next season, but they will lack any venomous bite to be successful in the postseason for now, but that will come with time. Keep an eye out for Philly.