Over the course of the past three seasons, Philadelphia’s collective basketball appetite has slowly been depleted. In particular, the past two years have seen the city of brotherly love manage a meager 37 wins in 164 contests. To put that into perspective, in the 2012 lockout year, the 76ers won 35 games in just 66 contests.
The Sixers are banking on organic development in their drafted prospects to carry them to the playoffs in the future. However, after official news surfaced that Joel Embiid’s devastating foot issues will keep him sidelined for at least one more year, the 76ers rebuild timeline was once again set back. The third year under head coach Brett Brown saw Philadelphia’s defensive rating take a massive leap to 102.1 – good for 12th in the league. Their offense, which was ranked dead last, still needs a world of work however.
Graphic via foxsports
According to reports, GM Sam Hinkie was also highly interested in guard D’Angelo Russell and desperately tried to trade up to acquire the Lakers’ No. 2 draft pick, but to no avail. Instead, Philadelphia opted to take the best player available at the No. 3 slot in Jahlil Okafor, which was met with heaps of criticism because of his fit next to Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, who was healthy at the time. This will make both the 76ers December 1st match-up against the Lakers and January 4th against the Timberwolves very entertaining. When early Rookie of the Year candidates square off it will draw attention from the basketball world. While watching D’Angelo Russell in a purple and gold uniform clash against the team that wanted him will be nothing short of a treat, fans are already salivating at the prospect of a Karl-Anthony Towns-Jahlil Okafor one-on-one matchup. Okafor is known as the better offensive player of the two while KTA has the defensive ability and versatility. The two young bigs will have the opportunity to showcase what could be a fun head-to-head for years to come.
Similar to the New York Knicks, last year’s 18-64 record for the 76ers means they need to improve in virtually all aspects. One important factor is their consistency when it comes to defense. Last year, Philadelphia allowed their opponent to score 100 or more points in 46 games. Throughout these 46 games they won mere 2. Though this was mainly with a roster full of guys who otherwise shouldn’t be playing at the NBA level, Sam Hinkie added some promising talent in Nik Stauskas and retained Robert Covington. With Nerlens Noel also having a full season under his belt, the 76ers are looking to continue their player growth. Nonetheless, although the 76ers have a solid core of young pieces, their time to make the playoffs hasn’t come just yet.
Graphic via bleacherreport