The Philadelphia 76ers have spent the last five-or-so years imploring their fanbase to "trust the process". This "process" involves taking risks on draft picks and free agents, and trusting that the front office and coaching staff will develop players into NBA stars. To the dismay of Philly-faithful, this "process" has only taken the Sixers as far as game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals and fans are demanding more.
Philadelphia 76ers NBA Season Preview: Championship or bust?
The 76ers will be keeping their core three players from last season in Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Tobias Harris. Since the conclusion of what was a very disappointing 2020 season for Philadelphia, GM Elton Brand has been very busy. After firing head coach Brett Brown in the beginning of the offseason, the 76ers had some big offseason additions like Dwight Howard and Seth Curry in an attempt to give their "big 3" a supporting cast.
Since the release of the 2020-21 NBA Schedule, basketball fans have been frantic about the shortened offseason and quick turnaround. 76ers fans should be excited about the prospect of a legitimate title contender, but the 2019 roster with Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick had similar star-power and fell short. Chemistry could end up playing a huge factor for the 76ers, and if Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid can work with these new weapons, this could be a dangerous team.
Philadelphia 76ers 2019-20 NBA Season Record
Regular Season: 43-30
Eastern Conference: 6th place
2019-2020 NBA Season: Lost in first round of playoffs (0-4) to Boston Celtics.
C Dwight Howard, G Seth Curry, G Danny Green, C Tony Bradley, G Terrance Ferguson, F Vincent Poirier
Signed first-round pick Tyrese Maxey to multi-year deal out of Kentucky.
Signed Head Coach Doc Rivers to 5-year deal.
Joel Embiid will be the centerpiece of the 76ers offense again this year, and if his injuries can be managed, he can put up MVP-caliber numbers nightly. The front office has done a great job this offseason in acquiring talented big men that can take some of the load off of Embiid. If Dwight Howard and Tony Bradley prove to be effective off the bench, Joel Embiid could set career highs this season.
The biggest question mark surrounding the 76ers success is the performance and consistency of Ben Simmons. While Simmons takes a lot of criticism from around the league for his lack shooting, he has still proven to be an unstoppable force when driving to the rim. Simmons' passing ability has improved greatly since his league debut in 2017 and will continue to improve his jump shot. 76ers fans should expect Simmons to have a breakout year and even elevate the game of the shooters that are being placed around him.
Danny Green and Seth Curry will have similar roles this year, spreading the floor with shooters and making space for Embiid and Simmons to play their style of basketball. Tobias Harris was presumed to take this role, but has emerged in to more of a mid-range threat in recent years.
Doc Rivers, who previously coached the Los Angeles Clippers for seven seasons, was hired in early October to relieve Brett Brown. Rivers, who is notorious for being a "player's coach", will provide a change of pace as the 76ers playcaller.
Also see:- NBA Schedule 2020-21
Philadelphia 76ers Predicted Lineup
G Ben Simmons, G Danny Green, F Tobias Harris, F Mike Scott, C Joel Embiid
Justin Anderson, Tony Bradley, Ryan Broekhoff, Alec Burks, Seth Curry, Lamine Diane, Joel Embiid, Terrance Ferguson, Danny Green, Tobias Harris, Dwight Howard, Isaiah Joe, Furkan Korkmaz, Dakota Mathias, Tyrese Maxey, Shake Milton, Raul Neto, Kyle O'Quinn, Vincent Poirier, Paul Reed, Glenn Robinson III, Justin Robinson, Mike Scott, Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, Derrick Walton Jr.
The Philadelphia 76ers have been a top-tier team in the Eastern Conference for the past four seasons but have not been able to find the missing link that brings the entire process together. Perhaps they have picked up the missing links this offseason with the likes of Howard, Green and Curry.
Regardless, we will see a new style of offense coming out Philadelphia this year. Doc Rivers will shake things up, and defenses around the league will have to adjust. If the 76ers can find a way to come together as a unit, and not a group of individually talented players, this team can have great success.
Prediction for Philadelphia 76ers 2020-21 Season
While I feel the 76ers have a very talented group, I can not call them the best team in the Eastern Conference. Due to a very underwhelming performance last season, the 76ers will have to prove their legitimacy through winning games. It is easy to look at this team on paper and call them the favorite to win the East, but if we have learned anything about the Philadelphia 76ers in the past, it's that nothing is guaranteed.
Barring a James Harden trade, I predict the Philadelphia 76ers will finish the shortened 72-game season with an overall record of 51-21. I forsee a small playoff run that is ended in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the yearning fans of 76ers basketball will have to wait at least another year.