Realistic Sixers Expectations For 2015-16


Coming off of an 18 win season, it’s understandable that most are leery to assume the Philadelphia 76ers will be able to do much next season. Sure, bounce backs have happened for teams that were once in troubled situations such as this, but these usually were catalyzed by bringing in a star player or having a player return from injury.

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With the bringing in of rookie Jahlil Okafor, I don’t think this acquisition will be enough to boost the team much further than 18 wins. Sure, they could be pushing much more, but I don’t think we should expect playoff contention. Okafor is only 19 years old, making one thing obvious — he’s probably not totally developed. With just one year in college, it could take years before some of his best basketball skills reach their full potential.

Some problems with him have already been addressed, such as his lack of effort on defense.

While Joel Embiid — who has not yet played in an NBA game — could have been a big boost returning from injury, he’s been set back. Initial reports pointed to the fact that Embiid rebroke his navicular bone in his foot, but more information from general manager Sam Hinkie in the past few days tells a different story. Embiid’s bone apparently did not completely heal.

So, with these things considered, what can we expect from this group of players, who I have labeled as an “Island Of Misfit Toys?”

For one, I think we can expect improvement. While some analysts expect them to be just as bad as last year, adding Jah alone allows for huge improvements. Having a solid big man to run plays through that also has the potential to rebound, and certainly the potential to play some better defense, will allow for better production from the team as a whole.

Okafor could be expected to get 15+ points per game if he plays his cards right, which could result in 5-10 additional games won on its own compared to last year.

The addition of Nik Stauskas adds a decent component to the offense as well. Although his days in Sacramento with the Kings were less than enticing, he’s expected to have a bounce back season. He’s on the FIBA Canada team, and representing his country and team there this summer.

Stauskas still isn’t a player that makes the Sixers a competitive playoff team, but he can also boost up some wins.

Regarding the rest of the team, there’s some key role players who are in the midst of development that will contribute to the team winning more games next season.

Robert Covington is an up and coming player in the NBA. The Houston Rockets certainly weren’t a good fit for him and allowing him to grow, but the Sixers give him more minutes and a better place to grow. The same can be said for Tony Wroten, coming from the Grizzlies before he came to Philadelphia.

Hollis Thompson could also explode this year, improving every year since his debut in the NBA. His deadly three point shot is a weapon ready to be used at the Sixers’ disposal.

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With Hinkie dealing away players like there’s no tomorrow, it’s clear there’s a method to the madness. What we have yet to see though, is winning to come along with that method. Even those who are “trusting the process,” are undoubtedly anxious as we enter this year, eager to see something good come out of all the trades that have seemingly had little value to the Sixers organization.

My point is, the Sixers have a ton of untapped talent on their roster just waiting to get brought out. Due to this, I definitely think we can expect an upswing in the outcome of the season. After all, it can’t get much worse than 18 wins.

That being said, we can’t get too optimistic. It’s not like we can expect the Sixers to become a playoff team coming off of one truly terrible season. Realistically, we can expect them to win above 20 games. I would even realistically give them 25 games this season.

Now, I could also anticipate a scenario in which the team gets 30+ wins. The way the schedule is set up, the Sixers have some stretches of very winnable games. And nothing gets a winning streak going like momentum. Still, don’t expect to see them battling for the eighth seed and making the playoffs next season.

Next: NBA Needs Strong Sixers Season

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