The 2017-18 season is upon us and there are high hopes for the Philadelphia 76ers. With two No.1 picks debuting, a rejuvenation of talent, and Embiid/Saric returning for their 2nd seasons, fans are expecting playoffs or at least a 40 win season.
I thought it’d be fun to throw out some bold predictions before the season gets underway. Some may feel like long shots while others are a bit more achievable. It all depends on your expectations. Nonetheless let’s get going.
1. Ben Simmons is an Eastern All-Star
The East is depleted. Butler is in Minnesota, Millsap in Denver, along with George and Anthony both in Oklahoma City. That is 4/6 forward spots opened from last season with Lebron and Giannis still remaining. With Ben’s stat sheet filling abilities he can find his way on the team along with fellow Sixer Joel Embiid who wouldn’t be too much of a shock if healthy.
Note: The All-Star selection process is still by conference after the reform. Difference being players are drafted by team captains after selected.
Projected Competition: Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpbo, Joel Embiid, Hassan Whiteside, Gordon Hayward, Kristaps Porzingis, Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, and Myles Turner.
2. Vegan Jah contends for 6th man of year
Last season many fans wanted the 6’10 big man out of Duke gone and it seemed the front office did as well. Time for a turn around. The new and slimmed down Okafor looks much better. He’s still an offensive force and with more mobility and motivation perhaps, his defense could take a huge step.
I can see Okafor averaging close to 15ppg off the bench against tired or backup bigs.
3. Embiid gets First 50 Point Game
Why not? Embiid in limited minutes last season only scored 30+ once but was close quite often. With perhaps an increase in minutes and not being the only offensive threat anymore, more will open up for him.
A 7’2ft monster in the post that can hit from deep efficiently? I like my chances. Embiid just needs to be given the opportunity a.k.a around 40mins for one game.
Note: The 2016-17 season was Embiid’s first experience of game action since 2014 at Kansas.
4. J.J. breaks Sixers 3pt record
A record held by the one and only Kyle Korver since the 2004-2005 season is in danger. Korver hit 226 3pt field goals that season and I believe Redick can top that.
J.J. has topped 200 made 3pt field goals in each of his last 3 seasons which would exceed Danna Barros and Korver’s 05-06 season for 2nd in franchise history. Coming to a Sixers team with a distributor like Simmons and a threat like Embiid down low, he’ll see a ton of volume.
I’ll say he hits 227 exactly.
5. Sixers are top 5 in the East
I said bold, right? Making the leap from a bottom 5 team in the league to a top 5 force in the conference is pretty extreme… especially in just one season. I have faith though.
If everything goes right as far as health goes I can certainly see it. The Sixers won 28 games last season with Embiid only playing in 31 total and Simmons in zero. With that type of talent missing, who knows how many games the team could’ve won if healthy. A guy like Bayless who basically missed the entire 2016-17 season could prove to be worthy as well.
New additions: Markelle Fultz, J.J. Redick, Amir Johnson, Furkan Korkmaz
Competition: Cavaliers, Celtics, Raptors, Wizards, Heat, Bucks, and Hornets.
Jordan is the founder of Sports Are Philly and a current student at Misericordia University.
You can follow him on Twitter @darealjlaw.