Saturday, November 18, 2017
Saturday Slam: The Philadelphia 76ers are starting to look terrifying
For the last few years, the Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the worst teams in all of professional sports and the laughing stock of the NBA. Their methodical tanking approach has taken on a life of its own with the whole "Trust the Process" motto, etc. It's become almost a joke.
This season however, the 76ers are not a joke. They are 8-7 and have one of the best young duos in the NBA in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Simmons is averaging 18.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game while Embiid is averaging 22.8 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.9 blocks.
Earlier this week against the Los Angeles Lakers, Embiid had one of the most ridiculous stat lines you'll ever see: 46 points, 15 rebounds, 7 blocks, and 7 assists. It felt like the coming out party for Embiid and the entire 76ers team. It was like they were putting the rest of the league on notice that they aren't going anywhere.
The major question mark with this 76ers team is whether or not they can stay healthy. Simmons missed his first season in the league due to a foot injury while Embiid missed his first two seasons and only played in 31 games last season. This is the first season where Embiid is actually on pace to play for the duration of the season, which if you think about it is pretty crazy. As for their rookie point guard Markelle Fultz, he's out indefinitely with a shoulder injury and is on track to miss a good chunk of his rookie campaign as well.
The bottom line with this 76ers team is that if they stay healthy and are able to keep their core pieces together, they're terrifying. There's no better way to describe it. Joel Embiid looks like the second coming of Hakeem Olajuwon while Ben Simmons has the makings of another LeBron James. If Markelle Fultz is able to live up to his potential and avoid the injury bug, we could be looking at a legitimate "big three" in Philadelphia for the next decade. For all the talk and jokes about trusting the process, "the process" is not only working, it's putting together a scary good basketball team.
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