Preseason predictions about former Philadelphia 76ers players: Starters and Stars
Nikola Vucevic barely played for the Philadelphia 76ers during his rookie season back in 2011-12 season. He was traded after his first year to the Orlando Magic and has played for the Chicago Bulls the past two and a half seasons. He should continue to be their floorspacing starting center this season.
The Sixers thought they had the making of a “Big 3” when they drafted Markelle Fultz in the 2017 NBA Draft. However, thanks to injury, Fultz never worked out in Philly, but he has found a home in Orlando where he has been the starting point guard when healthy and figures to be again this season.
Ben Simmons has easily been the most polarizing player in recent Sixers history. He’s an elite defender and playmaker when healthy, but has a significant mental block when it comes to shooting the ball. Simmons was traded to the Nets a season and a half ago but hasn’t come close to the success he saw in Philly. He recently came out to say he’s back to his All-Star form and will be the starting point guard this year, but only time will tell if that is a true statement.
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One of the gems of “The Process” was Jerami Grant but it wasn’t revealed how good Grant would become until after the club traded him during the 2016-17 season. Grant has developed into a borderline All-Star and as a result, the Blazers overpaid to retain Grant this summer as part of a failed effort to keep superstar Damian Lillard happy. Now with Lillard gone, Grant doesn’t fit Portland’s rebuilding timeline, but it might be hard to trade him.
The 76ers started “The Process” when they traded Jrue Holiday during the 2013 NBA draft. Holiday was a young All-Star with Philly at the time and has had a successful career since departing. He’s won a title with the Milwaukee Bucks back in 2021 but was just traded to the Blazers and doesn’t figure to be on the rebuilding franchise for long. Hopefully, the Philadelphia 76ers can trade for the former All-Star to complete “The Process”.
Mismanaging the Jimmy Butler situation can easily be the biggest blunder of the front office during the past five years. Butler could have brought a title to Philly if the Sixers would have been able to keep him. Instead, he’s taken the Miami Heat to the NBA Finals twice since joining them in 2019. Until Butler falls out of his prime, he should continue to be a star in Miami.
The success of the Philadelphia 76ers alumni will vary this upcoming season, but it’s always fun to keep track of former players.