The Philadelphia 76ers will make the playoffs next season.
scratch that…that’s not even a big deal in the East…
The Philadelphia 76ers will make the playoffs next season.
The Philadelphia 76ers will advance past the first round next season.
Again, this isn’t much to say in the East, but what I’m trying to say is…
Don’t worry about the Philadelphia 76ers.
After a quick look at the standings and seeing that the Sixers have another front row seat at the lottery, it’s easy to say this season has been another failure and the Sixers continue to be a god-awful embarrassment to the sport of basketball. BUT… I strongly detest that and anybody who believes it! This season was a success.
Ideally, the perfect season would’ve been Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid playing all season long and tearing up the NBA, making Kevin Durant wonder if he chose the right team to run to; while capping the season off with a trip to the playoffs and finally vindicating every Sixers fan with Sam Hinkie posters on their walls. As we all know, Ben didn’t play a single minute this season, Embiid did dominate, but was placed under a minute restriction, had to rest every other day before being shut down the 2nd half of the season, and we definitely did not make the playoffs.
It’s not a reach to say that most Sixers fans are disappointed at this season. They have a right to. Yes, it would’ve been awesome to make the playoffs and maybe get swept by the Cavs in the first round, but we didn’t.
Instead, we lost a lot of games. 54 this time. But trust me, everything is ok…we’re fine.
Don’t worry about the Philadelphia 76ers.
We’re at the point of the process called:
“BUILDING THE FOUNDATION” … (advancing from the “Inspect Construction Site” point)
Building the foundation is when the team starts making progress. This is when we set the ground pieces that will play a huge role in holding our team up in the future. People don’t really see this part. Everybody sees the final structure, that’s when people take the pictures and gaze in awe. Not a lot of appreciation is shown for the foundation that holds the structure up. Why? It’s kinda of boring and it doesn’t look really pretty.
That’s why people will ask, justifiably, “How was this season a success if you lost so many games?” To which I calmly reply, “Well, we established a winning culture and had some quality wins and losses.”
To which I would be bombarded with laughter, because the idea of a 54 loss team creating anything related to “winning” is hilarious. So to help defend my point, it would be helpful to explain some key “tank terminology” that were relevant this season: “culture” and “quality losses”
I didn’t understand the idea of a “losing culture” until I saw teams this year.
I’ve been closely watching the tank wars at the end of the season and looking at all the lottery teams. As bad as the Sixers were during the Process years, at least we “lost” right. We tanked the right way. (I’ll explain)
I might’ve been the only one (next to Jae Crowder) who found the Phoenix Suns’ celebration of Devin Booker‘s 70 pt game–in a loss– perplexing. I get that you can acknowledge it, because it was amazing, but as a team you don’t prioritize individual performances and you definitely don’t smile after a loss. But hey I guess that’s why Phoenix has been losing so much.
And the Lakers…oh my god. What can you say? That 50 point smackdown by the Mavs was embarrassing. This wasn’t some playoff team, it was the Mavs, who also went on to shamelessly tank the rest of the season. Plus, it’s not like the Lakers were losing all year. They started off pretty decent, at 10-10, which makes their downfall more significant.
With that said, I believe the Suns and Lakers were creating a “losing culture.”
Often, the Sixers were also criticized for creating a “losing culture.” I angrily denied this idea because every night I saw the squad fight til the last minute. I never saw this losing culture. That’s why I love Brett Brown, he made sure that his team was competing 100% every night. It’s true we still got blown out at times, but the team always fought. Shit, even in the 10-72 season, we had a bunch of leads that we blew cuz we were too young and inexperienced at holding leads. The team wanted to win and fought just as hard as the opposing team each night. It’s no surprise to see frustrated faces after losses from our team the past few seasons, they want to win even if the opposing team is “better on paper.”
We were establishing a winning culture then…
AND guess what??? …that culture carried on to this year and it’s led by guys like TJ McConnell and Robert Covington, who I’ll get to later. Then you had Joel Embiid, who before he even played a minute was criticized for having too much fun and not caring enough during his rehab; he came right in and shared that same winning spirit as TJ and RoCo. Embiid was even willing to injure himself again to get a win, it was that serious. Then you had guys like Dario Saric and Justin Anderson join us and fit right into this culture in Philadelphia, and they’re gonna help lead the way for the future Sixers and so on.
That 10 pt comeback against the Knicks would NOT happen if Brett Brown didn’t plant the seeds of our winning culture before. Any other team would’ve quit, hell, Jojo probably woulda took the rest of the game off since there’s no point in getting hurt again. But they kept clawing until the last second, and we came out with a victory and an iconic image in Process history.
We also had a few comebacks that fell just a bit short (another against the Knicks I believe), but still, the effort by our team deserved some praise.
I’m a firm believer that in the end, talent will always win. But after seeing teams like Toronto just not have “it” during the playoffs and the Rockets “performance” in an elimination game against the Spurs, I believe culture plays a role as well. By establishing this winning culture, you set the rules for what is acceptable and unacceptable. In Philadelphia, effort towards winning was prioritized and laid on our foundation.
At least that’s what I called it. A quality loss is when your team loses, but they did some good things in the game. For example, Dario Saric scoring 25 against the Warriors. Or TLC and Richaun getting some late game shine.
An L is an L, but for rebuilding teams it’s important to make progress with every game, win or lose. There was a lot of this for the Sixers this season. The most meaningful quality losses were the Cavs and Warriors. Again, like always, we fought them until the final minute. Didn’t come out on top, but those losses weren’t insignificant, we showed effort and didn’t get blown out by two of the greatest teams in the NBA. It’s the whole “We didn’t lose by 50!” thing, but it helps boost morale !
As the great Suga Free said
“In order for me to win, I gotta lose sometimes baby…”
Hey we won games too!
And they weren’t just easy wins against teams like Phoenix or Brooklyn. We beat the Bucks twice, beat the Wizards in our season series, beat the Raptors, and we beat the Celtics. A lot of losing streaks against teams ended this season.
I remember Milwaukee made a big deal about ending the Warriors winning streak last season. They even made t-shirts! It seemed pathetic to celebrate a regular season win like a championship, but wins like that mean a lot for a team. It shows that it is possible. For the Sixers, those wins against playoff teams showed that we progressed enough to actually beat playoff teams. That’s a big deal. It’s the reason I think we can make some noise next season.
You can look at our record and our failure to make the playoffs, but hidden from view was the progress we made this season. A foundation was built.
Again… it was a successful season.
We can go deeper …
Consider the things we also accomplished this season:
- We developed a bunch of our younger players
TJ McConnell became a solid PG this season. Robert Covington added a lot to his offensive game while becoming an elite defender in the NBA. Dario Saric was putting up numbers that matched up with the elites of the game. Joel Embiid was making progress every game and showing signs of a true NBA superstar. I’ll get more into this later.
- Discovered new talent in our system to add to our depth
Richaun Holmes is now scoring from outside the paint. TLC is proving to be a solid player on offense with potential on defense. Justin Anderson looks to be a high energy player we can have off the bench.
We did all that while still maintaining a high enough pick to acquire a younger guard in this guard-loaded draft. That seems like a pretty good season and it still follows our Process.
AND if you still remain unconvinced, the biggest takeaway we should all take from this season was our performance in January. Finally, after years of losing (except for that first week in MCW’s rookie year), we saw the light…we saw a team that could compete. Embiid was getting into a groove and the team was finally meshing together. It was a quick glimpse of what we could be.
I wrote about it before but I’ll talk about it again. That month was amazing for us. Our 10 wins that month matched our entire win total from last season! And how we did it was significant. It wasn’t a fluke. We won because we played elite defense led by Embiid and Covington. We won because we learned to execute late. They were all signs of a great team.
I wouldn’t be confident in this team if January never happened.
Again… Do not worry about the Philadelphia 76ers.
The biggest theme this season was “player development.” It’s the one thing that has remained constant throughout the Brett Brown/Process era, we’ve shown we can develop players. This year that was even more evident as Process “veterans” like TJ and Covington took the next step. Even later in the season, after Embiid got shut down, a few players were able to make some significant progress, so I hope fans continued to watch the team. If not, luckily I can kinda inform you.
McConnell was a PG who once refused to take a shot inside, often circling around the rim while looking around for a pass, and here we are. This season TJ notched two game winners on his belt. A legendary win against the Knicks and one against the Magic. I came home in time to catch the Magic one, and can you believe, when I saw TJ get the ball for the final possession, I said “Take that shit TJ” … and once I saw him get inside the paint and get into that signature TJ McConnell jumpshot/kinda fadeaway, I KNEW it was money. Can you believe???
TJ has proven that, not only does he belong in the NBA, he is a starting PG in the NBA. He’s the perfect guy for Philadelphia because he represents the “Philly Tough” motto. He takes no time off. During normal inbounds, it would be common to see TJ catch an opponent slipping and steal the ball. It’s those little things that make him so lovable.
And HELL nah we aint give TJ to the Cavs.
Robert RoCo Covington
Covington’s story this season was pretty interesting. I think fans knew RoCo was a 3 and D guy, so when Roco wasn’t hitting that 3 early this season, the fans booed. I didn’t really appreciate the booing because RoCo’s a guy that contributes in other ways, but I hear it’s a Philly thing so that’s fine with me. He really shot awful though.
I don’t know if it was Roco’s poor shooting that prompted this, but Covington started to drive inside more and cut inside more often. It was something that was bizarre for anyone who’s watched Covington since he arrived. He didn’t know how to drive inside or finish before, he looked like a fish out of the water, he looked like me. But as the season went on, he got more and more comfortable driving inside …AND he got his 3 back, even hitting a game winner against the Blazers. AND of course, that defense never left, and it perhaps got better. He led the league in deflections and was a key aspect to our elite defense.
It was obvious how much better we are with Covington. I was mad about the Nerlens trade but if it opened up more money to pay RoCo, then all is well.
A lot has changed since the last time I wrote about Dario Saric. The biggest was Ersan’s departure, which meant the beginning of the Dario era.
With Embiid’s season ending injury, our other pick from 2014 took over and stole our hearts.
Dario doesn’t look like a rookie…but we already knew this from day 1. But now he really doesn’t look like a rookie. Dario really took the role as our #1 guy. Sure, the record doesn’t show his impact. But for those that paid attention, Dario kept the Sixers competitive during the last part of the season. He looks extremely confident handling the rock and being aggressive, and don’t forget his flashy passing.
Towards the end of the season, fatigue was a clear issue, but that didn’t stop Dario’s will to get 30 wins for the season. That’s the thing…fatigue. This is why Dario’s special to me. He played all year, from playing for Croatia in the summer, then preseason, all the way thru 80 games of this season. It’s incredible. That’s why I can’t take the criticism from outsiders saying Dario shouldn’t win ROY. I had to listen to all these nerds assassinate my dude’s character with their bullshit efficiency stats. It really makes me angry when people downplay Dario’s effort on the court when he’s out there every night going 100%. What’s he supposed to do?? Not shoot it? There was an ugly period of basketball when LeBron and KD constantly checked their stats. Let’s move on from that. Dario never cared about stats, he wanted a win.
Dario’s biggest focus this offseason has to be his 3 pt shot. There’s nothing wrong with his jumpshot, which is pretty bizarre to say about a Sixers lottery pick recently, but as soon as he pokes out to the 3 pt line, the shots consistently fall short. I always thought it was because of fatigue, instead of mechanics, so I guess resting his knees this offseason will help. It definitely doesn’t help that Dario’s playing international ball this season, but hey…that’s just how he is. He’s a competitor who keeps his word.
There’s also finishing at the basket. He constantly drives inside, but his lack of athleticism doesn’t help as he’s smothered by defenders. This isn’t too big of a deal, especially if we continue to find off ball/high-IQ players to surround him. Remember, Dario passed it to Justin Anderson to win a game after he got stuck under the basket.
I don’t think Dario has peaked. I think the 3 pt shot is there. I think he should come off the bench. Nothing wrong with being a 6th man, there’s a reason why there’s a reward for it. Brett Brown knows sixth men very well too. I’m actually scared that we’ll trade him. Benches are extremely important to winning.
Holmes was a victim of the Jahlil experiment, but surprisingly, and thankfully, he came out on top. After being sent to the D-league, Holmes was called up to fill up the vacancy left from Jah, Embiid, and Nerlens; and he filled it up.
Most importantly, Holmes’ shot is becoming more reliable, which is a requirement for all bigs in today’s NBA. I think he’s a legit 3 pt threat now. Do I have him ahead of Jah? Yes.
TLC is a spooky prospect for us. He’s one of Colangelo’s guys, and I gotta say, he nailed this pick.
His potential as an off-ball guy and defender makes him highly valuable on our roster. For us to develop him late in the season was very key. Crazy thing is we already know he has good chemistry with Ben Simmons. Is there a possibility that we have our future 2 guard already???
This was a frustrating sophomore season for Jah. He had to deal with injury issues and a new offensive system that didn’t emphasize Okafor’s iso game in the post. Yet, he still had the opportunity to show his worth to the franchise on multiple occasions. I think he failed.
I still think Jah is good. He had some moments. One that stuck out was his performance against the Knicks. He really looks like a #3 pick when he plays all out.
I don’t wanna spend game after game wondering if it’s an effort thing. This team needs everybody to go 1000%, if we bring Jah in and he lowers the level, it’s an L for us. But if he can come in and give us all the effort, rebounds, and Jah-spins; then that would be awesome.
I got on Brett Brown early this season and it was fair.
But after January, it was clear that Brett was the man for us. A coach can grow too.
Inbounding has been a problem during the Brown era, but somehow in January, this happened:
There’s no man that understands this team more than Brett. His emphasis on defense is enough to make me love him. There’s no man that can get his players to represent the Philly toughness more than Brett Brown. I fear we won’t find another coach like this. I look around the league, and some of these coaches are laughable.
The talent has just about caught up. We will see how he handles Ben Simmons. We will see if he can use Dario Saric to his potential. We will see if he can continue developing our young players.
Blake to OKC??
It’s important for Sixers fans to keep an eye on the competition and play the role as a weatherman. Every team has a window. Right now, it’s being dominated by the Cavs and Warriors.
LeBron is still dominant. His athleticism hasn’t shown signs of dwindling at all. It’s scary, he’s like 32 and he seems to get better and better. Guarantee he’ll play til he’s at least 40, or if he goes Ichiro route, prolly 50. LeBron is still our biggest obstacle and as long as he’s still doing those chase down blocks, we’ll just have to wait.
As for the rest of the east? Eh. The east is very weak. We have beaten every team, so I’m not worried.
I’m not scared of the Celtics. The Cavs series showed me that they’re too little. IT looks to be gone and now we have to deal with those stupid Nets picks. Markelle is still too little for Ben and Embiid. The Bucks couldn’t even beat the Raptors. Although, Jabari and Thon can be great pieces for Giannis. I’m still confident that we’re better. I think the Bucks will be our best future competition out East. The Raptors are done. The Hawks are done. The Wizards need some serious support, but either way, John Wall can’t shoot. Who cares about the Pistons? Who cares about the Hornets honestly? Do the Orlando Magic even exist? Paul George is leaving Indiana. Bulls got Jimmy Butts, but they can’t find a way to support him. The Heat got a fun young squad, but they’ll probably be like an annoying mosquito you gotta swipe away every once in a while. The Knicks still have Kristaps, who’s great, but I don’t feel he has the leadership and drive to win big games when it matters, not hating, all I remember is his airball that led to the McConnell game winner.
But the west tho.
It doesn’t matter who’s on the bench; KD, Dray, Klay, Curry will always be a problem no matter what. They’re all still young too, which sucks.
Nuggets are ok now. But they’ll be the Atlanta Hawks of the West.
I’m still scared of the Timberwolves. Luckily, their bench and supporting cast wasn’t too awful so they didn’t get too high of a pick in this draft, but they still have the opportunity to add another great player in this year’s stacked draft. Once they get a superstar PG, they’ll be the next team.
The Jazz are a tough team with Gobert. If they keep Hayward, they’ll be competitive. I like what the Kings got going on, and Joerger’s gonna make them like the Grizzlies, just a tough opponent. I don’t think the Pelicans are gonna find support for AD. Hoping they don’t because AD is still one hell of a force.
And you can never count out the Spurs, but man Lamarcus Aldridge ain’t that dude…Kawhi is tho.
Predicting Ben Simmons
It’s kinda fair to use Dario as a preview for Ben. Ben is not as tall as Dario (bout an inch taller, although reports are saying Ben grew). Ben is faster than Dario, better handler, and passes better; which is crazy but that’s why he went #1.
Oftentimes during the season, Dario would be too fast for bigs, so he would fly by them. Or he would be too big for defenders inside, so he’d back them down and hit a hook shot or layup at the rim. This is how Ben will eat in the NBA. It’s literally something that Ben said in an interview.
There was a game where Dario got most of his 20+ of his points inside.
I think this is a good example of what we can expect offensively, when Ben chooses to score.
Of course, this will only be possible if we can get Ben in 1 on 1 situations. This can be achieved by surrounding him with shooters.
Yes, Ben’s lack of a jumper will hurt as defenders will sag off on him. Yet for some reason I believe that at one point in his career, that jumpshot will work. We sorta got a sneak preview of a working jumpshot during Summer League.
I think Ben’s gonna get a lot of triple doubles next season on his way to Rookie of the Year.
Right now, the only thing that’s holding us back are injuries. And we have no control over it… No team does.
I’ve had my speculation about Sixers’ “injuries” these past few years (I won’t get into it), but I truly believe Embiid and Simmons will be ok in the future. I seen Embiid injure himself all season and he fought through it. And Simmons looks fine from everything I’ve seen throughout the season.
For once, I believe this team will compete for a championship in the future. There’s a lot of things that can change, but we’ll focus on it when it comes to us. This upcoming draft is important, but not really important. If we can come out of the draft with some good players than the road will be a lot more easier.
Don’t worry about the Philadelphia 76ers… and don’t sleep on the Philadelphia 76ers.
p.s. Draft will have its own separate post. It’s way too big to fit in here pause
Lastly, CAN I TALK ABOUT “playoff experience”?? What the fuck is “playoff experience”??? I hear this a lot. “Oh, but at least we got playoff experience.” Is there something different that happens in the playoffs? These are grown men. These are grown men that have been playing basketball their entire lives, MANY of them have played in tournaments and championships. Like I understand experience for stuff like the Super Bowl and Finals n stuff like that because things are really different at that time with all the distractions, but playoffs??? [/Mora] It’s a game of basketball whether it’s played in August or July. Sure helped the Pistons. Talent always wins.