A Preview of the 2018-19 Philadelphia Sixers

The 76ers had a somewhat average off season and by no means is that bad for this team. Coming into the 2017 season, many expected a 40 win season with a 1st round exit. The Sixers surprised us with a 52 win season and a postseason run.

Over the course of the season many exciting takes and thoughts were running through every fan’s head. “Will we get LeBron?”, “Will they bring home Mikal?” and etc. We sit here now with LeBron in LA, Mikal in Phoenix and no “stars” in Philadelphia. So where do the Sixers stand now? Let’s take a look.

The Roster
Projected Starting Five:
PG: Ben Simmons
SG: JJ Redick
SF: Robert Covington
PF: Dario Saric
C: Joel Embiid

The Bench:
Point Guards: Markelle Fultz
TJ McConnell

Shooting Guards: Landry Shamet
Furkan Korkmaz
Zhaire Smith

Forwards: Wilson Chandler
Jonah Bolden
Mike Muscala

Centers: Amir Johnson

Positional Overview – The Point Guards
Markelle Fultz:
Point Guards have the potential to be the most loaded position on the 2018/2019 76ers and a lot of it weighs on Markelle Fultz’s ability to return to 100% health and get his shot. Even without it he will still be a solid guard off the bench. People seem to forget he’s a good passer and can shoot inside the arc reasonably and shouldn’t be a big problem. I fully anticipate he will be healthy and if he is, I expect Dario to move to the bench and Simmons to take the 4 slot and be a split time ball handler.

Ben Simmons:
Ben Simmons, our reigning ROTY is key to going from playoff contender to championship contender. If he is able to develop a jump shot and make his offensive game multi dimensional, he will be a problem in his prime amongst the likes of Magic and Lebron. But we have a ways to go before that happens. The Fresh Prince will be the Sixers primary ball handler going into the 2018 season and his drive inside style of offense should still be a problem due to his elite passing ability to kick it out to an open player if needed. Ben is going to be hungry going into this year trying to prove the doubters wrong that he needs a jumper to be good and it will be fun to watch.

TJ McConnell:
Timothy John, or as many like to call him, TJ is the sixers third guard off the bench. TJ has been a solid guard off the bench and going into a contract year is going to look to bust his butt to get paid. His style of constant pestering and getting everyone excited is what he does best and what makes him who he is. TJ is going to be headed into his third prominent season with the team and has improved with every year and I hope to see the same again in 2018.

The Shooting Guards
JJ Redick:
JJ is returning after a solid year as the 76ers best shooter and will stay most likely at the starting SG position barring any changes. JJ shot 42% from 3 this past season and will likely lead in that category this year again. While he will be 34, his shooting has not faded and will be a threat again this season many hope.

Zhaire Smith:
Zhaire was acquired along with the 2021 Miami Heat unprotected first rounder for #10 pick Mikal Bridges. While he has been knocked for his shooting and raw talent, he has been loved by Philadelphia after warming up to the trade. Zhaire’s Athleticism has been incredible and been on show in summer league along side a good defensive performance. Zhaire has shown the ability to be a good SG/SF off the bench and has a bright future being only 19 years old. And hopefully, he will be around for a bit in Philly.

Landry Shamet:
Landry was picked 26th in the 2018 NBA draft out of Wichita State. Shamet will likely look to be a Marco Bellineli replacement off of the bench but with not as many minutes. He was a good college 3 point shooter with 44% from 3 and looks to transition that to the NBA. Not much was seen from him in Summer league as he was hurt early on. Expect him to get more SG minutes then expected with TLC and Beli’s departures.

The Forwards
Dario Saric:
The Homie will be entering his third season as well with the Sixers. Dario has been solid on the offensive and mostly on the defensive end. With offensive skill that can help stretch the floor with the ability to shoot from anywhere, he is a versatile threat. Saric’s major Con is his speed. Dario is not as fast as others but with another offseason under his belt along with national play, hopefully that can be a skill that he can gain over this season. Even without it, he should still be a threat.

Robert Covington:
After getting a 62 million dollar extension in November, Roco went from fan favorite to crucified for every mistake he had. Many go to knock his shaky 2nd round performance, but it was his first in his career. Rock also was named first team all NBA this past season, but many of his doubters fail to bring that up. Even if his offensive game is not there fully like some think, his ability to defend anyone 2 through 4 is good enough that it shouldn’t be bad enough for all of the hate.

Wilson Chandler:
Wilson Chandler comes to Philly on the last year of a heavy contract for a player of his caliber at $12 Million. Chandler is a decent offensive player and with a 3 point shot. Chandler will now have the opportunity to thrive on a teams bench in a better position than Denver. With solid players around him, hopefully he can stay at this level or improve. If not, his contract ends at the end of the season and will have no attachments to him after that. Expect him to be a solid wing off of the bench in 2018.

Jonah Bolden:
Bolden had a good 2017 Summer League but with the past one just finishing, his skill has seemed to diminished a bit. I feel he will bounce back and prove them wrong. I think he has too much upside to throw it away after one bad performance over 5 or so games. Bolden can be a solid backup Forward/Big for Philadelphia for years to come if he gets his game right. A huge bonus is he will be cost controlled until 2022/2023 Season.

Mike Muscala:
Muscala was recently acquired in the 3 team trade that sent PG Dennis Schroder to Oklahoma City and sent TLC to OKC as well and Justin Anderson to Atlanta. Muscala is going to be 27 entering his

6th year in the NBA. Mike has solid 3 point range and is a good passer for his size. His ability will help stretch the floor and will get big man minutes behind Amir Johnson most likely. Muscala as well as Wilson Chandler is a one year rental and could be gone as soon as 2019 Free agency. But all in all, getting a player with his skill set for players bound to get cut is a win win scenario, and hopefully he can play a good role this season.

Joel Embiid:
The Process going into his 3rd NBA season is looking to improve his game even more. The most exciting aspect is this offseason will be his first at full health since entering the league. Also, fans are anticipating the big man to take the crown as King of the East. Joel has many fans captivated and being here for 5 years more only makes fans even more excited. Long live the King.

Amir Johnson:
Amir returns on a 1 year deal as the main backup big man for Jojo after Richaun Holmes departure and a disappointing Summer League from Jonah Bolden. With Dario Starting until Fultz vastly improves, Amir will be the big man off the bench. Many fans dislike him for his poor numbers but where he excels is the stats that aren’t on the scoresheets. He’s not there fully offensively but is solid on the defensive side.

Projected 2018/2019 Record: 54-28

Projected Playoff Seed: #2

Projected Playoff Journey: Eastern Conference Finals – Runner Ups

[Featured Image: Jonathan Pushnik]

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