Trust the Process… to Make the Playoffs
Full disclaimer, ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you I am an optimist, sometimes to a fault. But, believe me when I say the title of this article has nothing to do with optimism, it is based on facts. One being the Eastern Conference isn’t as competitive as the West, but that doesn’t take away from the 76ers talented, young core.
After years of suffering through the continuous “tanking” strategy, there is a pretty bright future ahead for the Philadelphia 76ers. Let’s start with the basics. After being told to “Trust the Process” we finally got to see benefits once Joel Embiid took to the court for the first time in his NBA career. Plain and simple, Embiid is the centerpiece of the 76ers franchise and has energy that is making the city excited for the future. Alongside of Embiid is fellow NBA Rookie of the Year finalist (and frankly he should’ve won!), Dario Saric. If you can’t get excited about two NBA Rookie of the Year finalists being on the same squad you may want to reach out to your physician for a look at your heart.
Beyond Embiid and Saric we have two rookies, Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons, who both bring a lot of excitement to the Philadelphia franchise. Both were number overall selections in their respective NBA drafts and when added to the duo of Saric and Embiid create a young, yet skill packed lineup. After the additions of veteran free agents JJ Reddick and Amir Johnson, the 76ers look to have a lineup that can push into the playoffs.
I would like to hazard a guess that Embiid will average 20–24 points a game with Simmons chipping in around 20 a game and Saric around 15–19. Fultz will be the floor general that will facilitate the offense, while JJ Redick does what he does best, shoot three pointers.
Back to the for mentioned Eastern Conference struggles. It’s well known that the Eastern Conference isn’t as strong, from top to bottom, as the Western Conference; but that doesn’t mean there aren’t quality teams in the East. King James still resides in Cleveland, Boston has taken large leaps this offseason as they build for the future, and while still capturing the best record in the East last year. With all of that said, I’m going to let the optimism creep back in here. Brace yourself. I predict the 76ers will not only make the playoffs this season, but also be the 5th seed.
Cleveland, Boston, Toronto, and Washington will in my mind make up the top 4 teams in the East, leaving Milwaukee, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Philly to make up the rest. With a young and very talented core in Philly why couldn’t they be higher in the playoffs than the Hornets and Hawks? This is all contingent on the 76ers staying healthy. The struggle is beating a young Bucks team that gained playoffs experience last year. But a fan can dream, right?
Now all we can do is sit back and enjoy NBA Summer League action until the regular seasons tips off. One thought to close with. When in doubt, always Trust the Process!