Don’t Get Your Hopes Up For This Year’s Sixers


If you came here for an optimistic look at this year’s Philadelphia 76ers, I’m sorry, but this isn’t where it is. I have done more optimistic pieces, but wanted to get a firm grasp on the reality of this year’s season.

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The Philadelphia 76ers exited last season with 18 wins, and didn’t even come close to contending for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. Heading into the offseason, hopes were high about the NBA Draft, and the free agent market. With Sam Hinkie ready to make moves, it looked like the Sixers were on the upside of their rebuild, and would start winning games as soon as this year.

Don’t get ahead of yourself, Sixers fans.

The most obvious problem with the Sixers is not having a good roster. I’m not saying guys like Robert Covington, Tony Wroten, Kendall Marshall, and Pierre Jackson can’t be good players, but I am saying that they have yet to prove any sort of worth for themselves in the NBA. I’m willing to bet most non-Sixers fans don’t even recognize a few of those names.

I’m not going to sugar coat it though: The roster is bad. That’s not to say it can’t get better, but watching games was pitiful for most fans last season. Some thought the Sixers were intentionally trying to lose, but I genuinely feel like the roster was trying to win.

Sure, the plan has been to stash draft picks, and Hinkie has clearly been content with not competing the last two years, but the players tanking? The players want to win, I believe that. Despite that, they simply couldn’t last year, and were a laughing stock of the NBA, to put things nicely.

This year, we’re coming in with a sense of optimism. Since the Sixers drafted Jahlil Okafor with the third overall pick, I’ve been excited for the season, and happy that the front court will be one of the most dominant in the league.

The front court seems to be one of the only things we can safely get our hopes up for, but even there, let’s be rational.

We have yet to see Jahlil Okafor take the floor in an NBA game. He played well in Summer League, and obviously had a great showing in his freshman year of college, but things can be drastically different in the NBA.

Okafor was an amazing player offensively at Duke, but overall pretty lazy on defense. If he doesn’t correct his work ethic here, his lack of effort will only be revealed even further.

So, with Okafor not guaranteed to be something to be excited about next season, we’ve always got Nerlens Noel, right? Not neccesarily.

Noel was different from Okafor in the defensive realm. He established himself in his true first year of the NBA as a dominant guarder of the paint, and was known for his stops at the rim and big blocks.

Despite this, his offensive issues are tough to overlook. Quite the opposite from Okafor, his 12.4% shooting from 10-16 feet is something that must be addressed. Even worse, from 16 feet beyond, he shot just above 8%.

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Luckily, we’ve read reports that Noel is working on his shot, and focusing more on being a deeper shooter. The same can be assumed about Okafor’s defense. Any rookie coming in with criticism would be smart to get his issues straightened out immediately.

The rest of the starting lineup isn’t much to get excited about either. While newly brought in Kendall Marshall will be a boost to the back court, and is a great facilitator, his scoring isn’t fantastic. Nik Stauskas had an off year last season, and it’s tough to predict what we should expect from him this season.

The rest of the lineup will probably feature Robert Covington, a player who would be sitting the bench a lot on almost any other NBA team.

The Sixers are moving in the right direction. Finally getting something out of their stashed draft picks, draft rights, and overseas players. Despite this, I’m not sure this is the season they even break 20 wins.

Looking ahead, more will happen next season. Noel will be further matured, and Okafor will have rookie jitters out of the way. Dario Saric is supposed to come over from international play and may fit better with next year’s roster than he would have with this year’s.

It could be another tough year of basketball for Sixers fan, but we’ll get through it. Here’s looking towards next season.

Next: Flat Top Podcast Episode 1

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