Sixers Becoming Contenders Slowly but Surely
The last time the 76ers finished with a record of .500 or above was in the 2011-2012 season. Since then, they’ve been one of the worst teams in the NBA. They’ve lost at least 60 games three times in the last five years. That has resulted in the 76ers having one of the top three picks in each of the last four drafts. They’ve used these picks to pick talented players such as Ben Simmons, Joel Emblid, Jahlil Okafor, and Markelle Fultz. The Sixers are hoping that these players can grow into franchise cornerstones.
Rebuilding in professional sports is never easy. For the Sixers it has been a long road. Early in the season they’ve shown signs of breaking through. The Sixers are 8-6 and have looked competitive early on. Embiid finally is healthy and in the midst of a breakout campaign. Embiid missed his rookie season due to an injury and only appeared in 31 games last year. So far this year, Embiid is averaging 23 points and 11.2 rebounds a game. He is not the only young Sixer turning heads. Ben Simmons, a former number one pick, is excelling this year. Like Embiid, Simmons missed all of his rookie season due to an injury. So far this year, Simmons is averaging 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 7.7 assists a game. These are the two the Sixers hope would help make them contenders again, and early on they have.
The Sixers also have other young talented players in Markelle Fultz and Robert Covington. The Sixers took Fultz with the first pick of the draft this year, however he has been unable to make an impact due to injury. Covington is in his fifth year in the NBA. He’s started the season off strong, as he is averaging 16.5 points a game.The Sixers roster also includes veterans such as Jerryd Bayless and J.J Reddick. This mix of young players and veterans could make the Sixers a playoff team again. The Eastern Conference is not as strong as the Western Conference, making it very possible for the Sixers to sneak into the playoff picture.
In order for that to happen, these young players must keep playing well. That is easier said than done since these players will go through growing pains. There will be games where their young core struggles. In those games, the true character of this team will show. That is not necessarily a negative thing, as these players must at times fail in order to adjust to the NBA. If they can learn and make adjustments, then this Sixers core will be fun to watch for years to come.
For the first time in years this franchise looks as if it’s ready to reach the next level. These young players are showing that they can be impact players in the NBA. This team will be tested in their next game as they will face the Golden State Warriors. That will be a difficult game, however this team has already showed that they plan on changing the narrative of losing surrounding this franchise.