Through 12 games of the 2017-18 season we are beginning to see things settle a bit on this Philadelphia 76ers squad. From a team standpoint it looks like we’ll be teetering around .500 and make a solid push for a playoff spot. As far as individuals go it doesn’t seem likely that Simmons and Embiid are going to slow down, while Covington and Redick have proven to be great sidekicks in the process.
I may be getting a little ahead of myself but I can’t keep from thinking about how many Sixers we can send down to All-Star Break in February. Last season, Joel, Dario, and Jahlil were the only ones to make the trip as Joel was selected for the Skills Competition/Rising Stars Challenge (did not participate), while Jahlil along with Dario participated in the Rising Stars Challenge.
This season though I feel as if we can send a whole van full. The team is rich in talent and depth which should warrant consideration for some of these events. Below I highlight potential candidates on the Sixers squad that can find themselves competing in the All-Star game, Dunk Contest, 3pt Competition, and etc. when All Star Break rolls around.
Ben Simmons- The 6’10ft Point Guard has been tearing the league apart in the early going of his rookie season. Through his first 13 games Simmons ranks 7th among Point Guards in the Eastern Conference in scoring (17.8ppg), 2nd in assists (7.5apg), 1st in rebounds (9.2rpg), 2nd in steals (1.7spg), and 2nd in blocks (0.7bpg).
He’s not only a lock to make the squad at this point but you may also see him going pretty early in the All-Star team draft, which is a new feature this year compared to just Eastern vs. Western Conference.
Joel Embiid- Picking up right where he left off from last season. Embiid is obviously one of the best bigs in the league, and easily sits on top of the throne in the Eastern Conference. Joel leads bigs in the East in scoring (20.9ppg), ranks 4th in rebounds (10.8rpg), tied 1st in assists (3.2apg), 2nd in blocks (1.4bpg), and 2nd in steals (1.0spg).
The only reason he wouldn’t find himself on the All-Star team this season is injury, but as Process Trusters we have to trust the health!
Robert Covington (Darkhorse)- Robert, Bob, Rock, or whatever the cool kids are calling him these days is killing it this season! His chances to make the All-Star team are much slimmer than Ben and Joel’s but he certainly should be in the conversation. Covington currently ranks 6th among Small Forwards in the East in scoring (16.8ppg), 7th in rebounds (5.7rpg), 2nd in steals (1.6spg), and leads the entire league among Small Forwards in 3pt shots made (48) at a ridiculous 50% shooting.
With his tenacious defense that helped him earn Defensive Player of the Year consideration last season he just needs to keep his offensive game consistent for a chance to sneak onto the All-Star squad.
Ben Simmons- If you haven’t been able to catch a lot of Sixers games this season then you missed out on a lot of electrifying slams from the one and only Ben Simmons. There’s just something so beautiful in a 6’10ft 240lb player moving like a pure Point Guard and then throwing it down with some absolute thunder.
Simmons has garnered a lot of attention for his abundant amount of dunks and should receive interest from the league when the Dunk Contest nears.
J.J. Redick and Robert Covington- Both Covington and Redick are off to a hot start from deep. Covington who ranks 4th in the league in made 3pt field goals (48) is shooting 50% from deep while Redick ranks 23rd (28) at 39%.
You can expect J.J. to climb the boards as the season progresses and Covington to slip a little but both are well on their way to be among the leagues best from deep this season.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid- Both of these guys will warrant interest to compete in this event. Jojo was selected for this event last season but did not participate while Ben with his guard skills at almost 7ft would be a delightful addition. If both are healthy when All-Star Break approaches don’t be surprised if you see them squared up against each other.
Rising Stars Challenge:
Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, and Markelle Fultz- I fully expect Simmons to be in the All-Star game and turn down playing in this event but he’ll surely be in the conversation anyways. Dario in only his 2nd season will surely find his way on the International team and Fultz although he has been hurt is essentially a lock for being the reigning No.1 pick as long as he’s healthy.
Jordan is the founder of Sports Are Philly and a current student at Misericordia University.
You can follow him on Twitter @darealjlaw.