Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview

0
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (left) and Boston Celtics' Aron Bynes in action during the NBA London Game 2018 at the O2 Arena, London. (Photo by Simon Cooper/PA Images via Getty Images)

The Philadelphia 76ers started the Process in 2013. It was a promise to the fans that the road to being a contender was going to be long but in the end, it would all work out. The Philadelphia 76ers season this year was the result of Sam Hinkie‘s strategy. Finally, the organization would reap the rewards of the mentality that was viewed by so many to be unorthodox. All of their current first-round prospects were able to play and it resulted in a 50 win season. Even Markelle Fultz who had a shoulder injury that affected his shot was able to suit up for some games during the season. This season will be the culmination of a long grind called the Process. The Sixers hope to make it to the Finals and complete Hinkie’s vision.

Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview

What Worked Last Season

It’s simple when you ask what worked with the Sixers last season. They were able to rebound, pass and shoot the three-pointer well. The Sixers were first in the league in rebounding with 47.4 per game. They were second in assists with 27.1 per game. They were tenth in three-point percentage at 36.9 percent. The Sixers two best players were big factors that attributed to the rebounding. Joel Embiid had 11 rebounds per game while Ben Simmons had 8.1 rebounds per game.

The great rebounding led to second-chance points on the offensive end. The Sixers were fifth in the league in that category with 13.7. Simmons really helped the Sixers get their offense set up. He led the team in assists with 8.2 and he was a big reason why the Sixers were one of the best passing teams in the league.

The Sixers were one of the top ten three-point shooting teams in the league. Their best three-point shooters (Robert Covington, J.J. Redick, and Dario Saric) helped the team break games open. Covington shot 36.9 percent from three and was 11th in the league in three-pointers made with 203. Redick shot 42 percent from three and was 14th in three-pointers made with 193. Saric shot 39.3 percent from three and was 34th in three-pointers made with 153. These three players are all coming back and with the whole starting lineup intact after the Sixers re-signed Redick they look to have another good season in all three categories.

Good ball movement led to open threes, and good rebounding led to the Sixers to be able to shoot any shot they wanted. They always knew they would have a chance to get the ball back. Being good in all three categories will be key to the Sixers success next season.

What Needs Improvement

The Sixers had a great season this year. They ended the season on a 16 game winning streak which is the most wins to end a season in league history. That is a big difference from the end of the 2015-16 season where they were in danger of ending the season on a 17 game losing streak. They were able to win a game against the New Orleans Pelicans 107-93 to help stop the losing streak. Those days are behind the Sixers though.

The Sixers played an almost perfect season. What they needed to improve on was their roster in terms of finding a shot-creating wing. They failed to get LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George. They were able to get Wilson Chandler who will help their second unit create offense which was one of the problems last year. In the starting lineup, they have Simmons who helps them in that group. The Sixers improvement will have to come internally. Embiid will have to have a season in resemblance to an MVP season. Ben Simmons will have to show that he can shoot the ball somewhat to make the defense respect him, when he is out on the three-point line. The Game 2 against the Boston Celtics where he scored just one point was a big telling of what can happen if he doesn’t have a shot. Finally, Fultz will have to show that he is healthy and has improved from last year. He will need to have a big impact this year for the Sixers to take the team to the next level.

For the Sixers, it will be about getting more out of their best players. Saric had a great season also. He was a candidate for Rookie of the Year in his rookie season and if he is able to continue the success that he has had in his short career he will be able to help the Sixers greatly.

Off-Season Changes

The Sixers were able to re-sign Redick this off-season. That will be big because of his three-point shooting, and the big shots he was able to make last year. He helped break open a lot of games too. Redick signed a one-year $12 to $13 million dollar deal. The Sixers were able to acquire Chandler and a future second-round pick from the Denver Nuggets. Chandler averaged 10 points a game last year. He has had 10 seasons where he averaged double-digit points per game. He will add to a bench that struggled to find offense in terms of creating their own shot.

The Sixers added Mike Muscala in the Carmelo Anthony three-team deal. Muscala will be able to help the second unit as Ersan Ilyasova is now with the Milwaukee Bucks. Muscala shot 37.1 percent from the three-point line last year.

In the draft, the Sixers were able to pick Mikal Bridges with the 10th pick in the draft. They then traded for Zhaire Smith who was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 16th pick. Head coach Brett Brown says that he sees a lot of Kawhi Leonard in Smith. Smith is great defensively and he can jump out the gym. He can also play three positions on the court. Smith played power forward in college. The Sixers hope to develop him and help him obtain an offensive game. The Sixers picked Landry Shamet with the 26th overall pick. Shamet is a tall point guard at 6’5. He can be a good back up point guard option for the Sixers this season. They also drafted Shake Milton with the 54th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Milton adds depth at guard.

2018-19 Season Prediction

The Sixers have a lot of good pieces on their team. The young core of Simmons, Embiid, and Fultz will have to improve to help take the Sixers to the next level. With James moving on to the west coast, the Eastern Conference is now wide open. The Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Toronto Raptors will be some of the main teams in contention. For Philadelphia, they will have to shoot the three well and play defense in order for their season to be better than last year. Out of those three teams, the Sixers are the best three-point shooting team. They will go far this season and will at least make it to the Eastern Conference Finals where they will meet Boston most likely.

The team is young but ready to win now. Adding Chandler gave them a shot creating option on the wing that was not present last season, especially in the second unit. The Sixers were not able to add LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard this off-season, but this year they should still be successful. Next year they hope to strike big in free agency.
Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.