As the Eagles failed to acquire Jalen Ramsey and let down millions of fans in the process, it got me thinking SIXERS! The season is less than a week away and I don’t think expectations have been higher in my lifetime. We have the guys, we have the swagger, and the league hasn’t been this wide open since before the Warriors became the Warriors. Championship or bust. In this blog, I am gonna give all you fanboys out there a little preview on what to expect and 5 bold predictions on the Sixers season. LFG!
Vegas has the Sixers win total at 54.5… take the over. And this isn’t one of my bold predictions. This team is gonna be a defensive nightmare. Plugging in Al Horford and Josh Richardson to a lineup that already boasts two elite defenders in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is borderline malpractice. Josh Richardson is an underrated, two-way player that can wreck havoc on opposing teams 1-3. He is a huge upgrade over JJ Redick, and although we will miss his shooting, we will not miss his defense. Al Horford is probably one of the most underappreciated players in the NBA. People recognize his talent, but he does so much more than what the box score indicates. He brings leadership, pedigree, and most importantly much needed insurance for Joel Embiid. Last year, when Embiid would go out of the lineup, team’s would go on runs because we had no capable backup center. That will change this year as Horford will slide over to the 5 when Embiid is out, or even Kyle O’Quinn who is a proven backup center. With arguably 4 elite defenders in the starting lineup and a guy like Tobias Harris who can get buckets, this forms one of the best if not, the best, starting lineup in the NBA. Not to mention the length they support with Josh Richardson being the smallest at 6”6. On top of this, Simmons is still developing as he is only entering his 3rd season and teams will maybe have to somewhat, kind of respect his shot. Those youtube vids of him in the offseason were a beautiful sight for the eyes. Plus he already set the world on fire with his preseason 3-pointer against Guangzhou Loong-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association. It’s gonna be hilarious when people ask 5 years from now who the opponent was when Ben Simmons made his first ever 3. But in all honesty, I just want to see him shoot it. It’ll open up so much of his game and can really make him go from All-Star to All-NBA first team. At the end of the day, the success of the Sixers season will hinder on one Joel “The Process” Embiid. This sounds like a broken record but health is obviously the biggest concern when it comes to The Process. Another reason why signing Horford will be so huge for this team. We all know what Embiid can do while he is on the court and people are always questioning his conditioning, but he ranks among the best of the best. There will not be as much pressure on him to play 35 minutes and back-to-backs this season due to the acquisitions of Horford and O’Quinn. He looked gassed towards the end of last season and that clearly showed in the playoffs. Embiid should sit back, relax, and enjoy bottomless shirley temples during the regular season because the real season starts in April and that’s when we really need him. I expect Brett Brown to play the conservative game with Embiid until then and I am here for it. Now finally, the bench. Last year the bench was an obvious weakness as we had to give minutes to Furkan Korkmaz, Mike Muscala, and Jonah Bolden to name a few. Now we have James Ennis who is a very serviceable wing player, cult leader and fan favorite Mike Scott who ain’t no bitch and will drain a 3 right in your face, Kyle O’Quinn who I mentioned earlier, Trey Burke and Raul Neto who are both upgrades over TJ McConnell (sorry TJ but it’s the truth), a healthy Zhaire Smith which I’m still not sure what to expect from, and finally a very promising rookie Matisse Thybulle who expects to be a major contributor right away and will steal your lunch money but be nice about it. The bench will not be an issue this year. And that is why I am so high on this team. Big year for Brett Brown and I think he delivers. Now to my 5 bold predictions:
Sixers Win Over 60 Games
Ben Simmons Will Make More Than 10 Threes
Matisse Thybulle Will Make All-Rookie First Team
Brett Brown Wins Coach Of The Year
Sixers Win NBA Championship
Very positive and lofty predictions, but I am amped for the season and I don’t think the league truly knows what is about to hit them. Anything less than a championship is a disappointment. Sixers begin their quest on Wednesday at home against the Celtics. Can’t wait.