The setup of the playoff berths in the NBA have changed drastically and it’s much more exciting in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia 76ers have found a way to pose a legit threat to the elite ball clubs as they keep performing with great intensity.
76ers, being a franchise which has 9 conference championships and 3 NBA championships hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2012, hitting the rock bottom of the table for consecutive years. Numerous 1st round picks have finally paid off as they now have the hopes of enjoying playoff basketball again, all thanks to the unimpeachable talent that they possess. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, being the faces of the franchise are taking the NBA by storm as they keep progressing and moulding into better players day by day.
It’s no surprise that unlike the earlier days, there’s no future in NBA unless a team is well balanced and the 76ers are slowly progressing to be one as they now rank 16th and 14th on offensive and defensive ratings respectively which is a massive feat. Without putting emphasis only on one end of the court, they have dominated both ends as their team stats depict glimmers of balling skills.
Ranking 1st in rebounds per game, 2nd in assists per game and 8th in points per game already with the potential to improve has made many teams of the league to treat 76ers with respect. Being stung by the injury bug has sidelined Markelle Fultz; 2017 NBA 1st pick and he’s yet to unleash his talents on top of the showdowns we witness already.
Ben Simmons recorded his 3rd triple-double in his 23rd career game. Only Oscar Robertson (4) and Magic Johnson (15) needed fewer games to reach 3 career triple-doubles (via @EliasSports). pic.twitter.com/LeGSjAWer2
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 8, 2017
Ben Simmons; a freight train, is one of the most versatile players in NBA at the moment who can play both guard and forward positions without breaking a sweat. Simmons plows through defenders almost all the time. His Lebron-like transition plays which revolve around sharp shooting back court or rim breaking dunks are mesmerizing. Simmons is averaging 18 points, 7.7 assists and 9.1 rebounds per game in the rookie season and currently is the recipient of high praise from James himself, to whom Simmons is compared day and night.
While Simmons continue to dazzle the basketball fandom, Embiid doesn’t hold back either. After 2 years of rehabilitating from injuries, the Cameroon native big man is back with a bang as he’s seriously in consideration as the best center of the league. 7ft, 113kg Embiid who has dubbed himself as “The process” (after the 76ers catch phrase “Trust the process”) averages 23.5 points, 11.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.9 blocks per game. His sheer domination on both offensive and defensive boards has made many teams deeply worried. Amidst thunderous dunks and sky hooks, Embiid shoots the 3 ball and isn’t afraid to put the ball on the deck and finish at the rim with euro-steps and spin moves. His understanding of the reach and strength he consists has made him a real monster at the post as he barrels and bulldozers easily over many reputed big men in the league.
The stat line of Embiid reads 46 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 blocks against Lakers on November 16th as he scored his career highs in many sectors.
While Simmons and Embiid dominate the paint, newly acquired sharp shooting veteran J.J Redick, T.J. McConell and Robert Covington aren’t making it easy on the defenders as they currently shoot 39.4%, 56.3% and 42.7% respectively behind the arc. Redick being one of the league’s best 3-point shooters, showcased his capabilities at a match up against the Pacers on November 3rd, having his best night as a sixers baller.
.@JJRedick was ? from deep in the @sixers‘ 121-110 win over the @Pacers.
? 31 points, 8-12 3P pic.twitter.com/ELzeD2Iq8u
— NBA TV (@NBATV) November 4, 2017
Along with above mentioned star players, Sixers enjoy the perks of having Dario Saric; 2014 NBA 12th pick at the starting five along with the veteran center Amir Johnson and Trevor Booker whom they acquired just a few days ago, coming off the bench to give the Sixers a good chance of cracking into a playoff berth this year. Currently holding a 13-13 record shouldn’t diminish what this young team accomplished as they took down numerous big guns, including the Rockets, Wizards, Pistons, Trail Blazers and Clippers along the way.
Still into almost 2 months of the season may not be a good time to make predictions about what the teams might turn out to be eventually but if the Sixers keep ‘processing’ into a much-improved squad, even LeBron James might consider joining them next year as he will be a free agent and there are enough rumours already flying around about it. Guess we all will have to wait and see!
The lobbying has begun. pic.twitter.com/w2WTu5Rw3i
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) November 27, 2017
So that’s a wrap for this week on the Philadelphia 76ers and their ring hungry young blood. Till next week, keep balling!