As we wrap up 2018, there was countless moments that made this calendar year special but, there is only 10 spots on the list. Since this is only for 2018 this will cover the second half of the 2017-2018 season and the first half of the 2018-2019 season. So here is the top 10 moments for the 76ers in 2018.
- Bench Depth help
Claiming the 10th spot is from last seasons late season run. During the beginning of the year the 76ers had major problems closing out games in the 4th quarter and there was controversy about giving Jerryd Bayless significant minutes contrary to public opinion. So when the buyout market began in February of 2018 the Sixers went out and got Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli. Belinelli provided great shooting off the bench incredibly needed and Ersan gave a big man with versatility as well. These 2 pieces were key to the teams playoff run and got paid well this past offseason by San Antonio and Milwaukee respectively.
- Rise of Shamet
In the number 9 spot is the newest 76ers rookie Landry Shamet. Shamet wasn’t thought of much when he was drafted as most of the attention was on earlier pick Zhaire Smith. Shamet was a shooter out of Witchita State. Now Landry has shown why he should have gotten drafted higher as he has been a star off the bench for the team this year and has been the replacement for Beli this season. Averaging 14 PPG per 36 minutes. He has been a three point talent much needed. Shamets future looks very bright in Philadelphia through the season thus far.
- New Uniform
With the new Nike deal beginning last year, Philadelphia has seen several new uniforms hit the court and shelves and they have all been incredible. Topping the list was last seasons Cream 76ers City Jersey based off the Declaration of Independence. It was voted by many as one of the best in the league. This year it was succeeded by this seasons grey Rocky inspired uniforms. They are great set this year and is paired with the new Earned edition for the 16 teams that made playoffs. The 76ers Earned uniform is a white variation of the City uniforms. The red Statement uniform has returned from last season. The 76ers uniform set ranks as one of the best in the league.
- Drummond and other feuds
This year has brought some new feuds to Philly. From Kyle Lowry and Ben Simmons almost fighting in the hallway after ejection, the crazy first round against the Miami Heat, and the following round against Boston, to Andre Drummond this season. Philly has began to have an attitude with them and it is loved throughout the city. They show they will not back down from a fight and will stand up to the challenge. The main outlier has been Andre Drummond. Drummond has gotten into with Embiid and Embiid mostly has been victorious, dominating offensively and defensively. As the team rises through the ranks, and with the addition of Jimmy Butler, there will be many more of these interactions to come.
- Not a rookie
While this started in 2017, the interaction hit its peak in the 2018 year. Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell squared off for the Rookie of the Year award. Many felt Mitchell was disrespected and should have won because Simmons was not a “true rookie” due to him having an extra year of professional training despite him having never played a NBA game. The banter and pettiness between the two reached astronomical amounts from T Shirts to billboards produced by Nike to combat Mitchell, who signed with adidas. Finally Simmons won the award quite easily, but the rookie comments will never leave him.
- MVP Embiid
The beginning of the 2018 season was Embiids third, and the start of MVP caliber play from the 7 foot 2 Center. Joel has been so dominant this season putting up 20 points and 10 rebounds at halftime several times. At the end of 2018 Joel has averaged 26.5 points and 13.3 rebounds per game. And 28 and 14 per 36 minutes a game. Joel is single handily the best Center in the league by far. His flaws show but if you put him in a 1 on 1 in the post against any current player, he will win. Joel is incredible there and his only weakness is when he gets double-teamed inside and has to move the ball and often causes turnovers. But Joel should be in that top tier. While he may be a step away from winning the award just yet, if he improves on some things he should get the award sometime soon.
- Burner Gate
While this was a crazy and overall not good moment this year, it brought an end to one of the worst regimes in the NBA with the league implanted Colangelo’s finally left Philadelphia for good. Terrible drafting and trading was abysmal. Passing up talents such as Siakam, Dejounte Murray, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart. Instead selecting TLC and Anzejs Pasecniks. Having a GM trash players behind their back is disrespectful and deserving of being fired. With that happening, Philly is way better off without him and better he got out when he did then later. The 76ers are better off in the new Brand regime and I’m looking forward to this.
2018 seemed to have brought closure to what I believe was part 2 of the process and that was playoffs. The first step was becoming competitive. For the first time in the post Hinkie era, this team made the playoffs as the 3 seed against the Miami Heat and won in 5 games. It was a chippy series as mentioned earlier in the list but it was well fought and showed us masked Joel Embiid. While the 2nd round was disappointing in a 4-1 loss to the Celtics. Philly is inexperienced in the playoffs and went against a top team that season and was in nearly every game. The playoffs showed a bright future for the team and I expect them to return this season and make a heavy impact.
- Elton Brand
Taking the number 2 spot is new GM Elton Brand. After following Burner gate as mentioned earlier, the 76ers hired in house and landed with former player Elton Brand. I talk about this more in depth in my earlier article breaking down his hiring and past. Elton brings a certain style as he has played with some of the players that work for him in Embiid and TJ. Elton has made some great moves we will get to later on but his hiring so far has shown to be great but this draft and offseason will be the most important of the process era. Another key moment will be the buyout market in February. As last year brought key players mentioned earlier, they helped very much in a playoff run. Philly desperately needs bench help and they need it then and there. Elton has shown to be good so far, let’s see where he goes from there.
- Jimmy Butler
The highlight so far of Brands GM Career was bringing in NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler in from Minnesota in exchange for Robert Covington and Dario Saric. I broke this trade down when it was first announced but since then Jimmy has been dominating. Single handily winning games for Philadelphia and showing why he is so good. While he hasn’t put up a lot of PPG his presence on the court shows with his effort and bringing a style to this team. On the other side Robert Covington has shown to be incredibly well in Minnesota securing a starting role and putting up great defensive numbers. Dario and him are incredibly missed and will be a sight to see when they return January 15th.
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One of the biggest process trusters you will ever meet. I cover all Philadelphia teams but mostly the 76ers.