I started to write this after Tuesday’s preseason game against the Pistons. So when I say last night’s game that is the game I am referring to.
So last night’s preseason game got me so excited. Yes, I said preseason, I am going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m going to write a season preview.
I’m not really sure how to do this but I’ll start with some team predictions, then player predictions, then break down of the roster, and finally some more rambling of topics I think should be discussed.
Team record 58-24 1st in the East
Call me a homer, I don’t care, this team is good. I’m sure we have all talked about the defense, they will be a top 3 defense, maybe the best. But their offense isn’t anything to scoff at either. Joel is going to get buckets. Tobi is going to get buckets. Ben is going to average close to a triple double, j rich is a baller and Harford plays smart basketball. Takes good shots but also passes up good shots for a great shot. There is a lack of creation off the bench but I’ll discuss that later. Sixers will be top 3 in defense and top 5-7 in offense. Time to get on board this team is really good.
Some pre-season observations: he looked like he is just going through the motions. I get the feeling that he just doesn’t really care. That being said, his midrange is in mid-season form. He is still getting to the line. And if this is him playing with a lack of energy by it’s preseason, well watch out to the rest of the league bc it’s not going to end well for you. One thing I did see last night that I’m not used to seeing out of Joel, he hit the high post, against a match up come type thing the Pistons were playing, caught a pass turned and hit the opposite corner for an open 3 for Tobi. That’s a pass that is going to work out well for him, something he hasn’t done before.
My goals for Joel this coming season would be conditioning and quick thinking. Joel cannot be stopped when he gets in the post, makes a quick move and goes to the run. Where he gets caught up is when he slows down. Even when he faces up and swings through, he can’t take his time. The quicker he decides to make a move the less time the defender has to adjust. He makes quick decisions he is unstoppable.
Bold prediction: he plays 70+ games this season.
Josh is that dude that is flying under the radar. I think being traded for Jimmy, many fans focused on losing Jimmy rather than gaining Josh. Josh is a baller and fans are going to pleasantly surprised by him this season. He can catch and shoot, he has a mid-range, and he can get to the basket. and his defense is going to thrill a lot of fans. Josh is the non-superstar version of what we wanted Markelle to be.
One thing I didn’t like was him in the PG position against Detroit. Seemed a little too much on him, also I’d rather see Neto or Burke go there if Ben ever has to sit, I wouldn’t want to see Josh run down by the end of the season.
Bold Prediction: He’ll be in the talk for All Star consideration.
I expect out of Al everything we already know to expect. Takes good timely shots, passes up a good shot for a better if available, plays tough defense, and exhibits high basketball IQ. Horford has been around, and therefore we should know exactly what to expect from him.
I believe that we will see Al rest more than we think. Last year he had some knee problems and he is obviously older so be prepared for a handful of games without him.
Bold Prediction (spoiler alert): He finally wins a championship and it’s with the Sixers.
Tobi is my crown jewel on this team. First off, he will never play up to that contract for some fans, but that’s ok. He isn’t worth that kind of money either, however in the NBA many players who are maxed aren’t really worth the max, it is just how the league is worked. (I know he isn’t fully maxed but you get the point). Harris has taken a step forward every year, and I do not see any reason to believe that he won’t do it again this year. Without Jimmy, I think you’ll see him much more involved and when dude gets in a rhythm and hot it’s lights out, sit back and watch the ball fall through the bottom of the net.
Bold Prediction: Averages upwards to 20 a game. All Star. And much improved defensively.
Here we go, everyone’s favorite topic Ben and his jumper. Well strap in, because we may not like what we see. I think expectations are too high for his jumper. A lot of fans want to see Ben come out shooting. Not going to happen. He isn’t going to take a certain number of jumpers just to take them. He is too smart for that. Hopefully he shoots them when they are given to him. If he isn’t open, we’ll see the same Ben Simmons style game.
What I would love to see Ben improve at is finishing at the rim with contact and foul shooting. If he attacks and shoots anywhere from 70-75 percent from the line, added with taking open jumpers, he is going to be a force to reckon with.
Now the bench:
IT’S NOT AS BAD AS WE THINK. The main problem with the bench is lack of creation. Trey Burke is really the only player off the bench that can create his own shot off the dribble consistently. But other than that, this year finally we have serviceable backups.
The Hive stand up. Mike is that dude. Not many role players have taken on a following like he has. And you better damn sure be liked to come into Philly and fight Eagles fans at a tailgate, win, and have the fan base still stick up for you being a Redskins fan. It does help that the guys he fought were racist assholes.
On court, Mike is going to continue to give you what he does. Defense and decent 3 point % and an overall good veteran prescience. And we know he has his guys back when it shit gets real. It is nice to hear that this off season he has done work on court, not just on dude’s head at the tailgate. He has been quoted that he wants to exploit mismatches and get smaller guys in the post. With many of the line ups the Sixers will trot out, Scott has a decent chance of finding the mismatch and getting in the post and playing bully ball. Much like teams, like the Celtics did to JJ Reddick.
James Ennis quietly won the wing tournament last season. And re-upped with the team this year. Ennis will likely be the first or second wing off the bench. The go guy with put back dunks out of nowhere, offensive rebounds, and an occasional three Ennis is a solid veteran wing back up.
True Story I hated Ennis when he first came here. The way he plays gives me massive anxiety. He looks completely out of control and it drives me nuts. But he did very well for the team in the playoffs last season and he grew on me. I’ll just have to work on my breathing techniques when he starts dribbling.
Apparently nicknamed “The Disruptor”, or so I heard on the radio last night. Dude is a complete menace on the defensive end of the court. He may actually lead the league in deflections this year. This preseason he has been all over the place, steals, blocks, just a complete terror on the defensive side. Offensively he has surprised me, shot looks good on catch and shoots, he hasn’t been over aggressive and turn the ball over much, and he has shown the ability to put the ball on the floor and finish. Hopefully that will translate into the regular season. It seems he is already in Brett Brown’s favor and my guess if not to start he will be the first off, the bench by the end of the season.
Kyle is the best backup center the Sixers have had in years. And so far, this preseason Brett has put him in spots that highlight his passing ability. Kyle will be a pleasant surprise for fans when in the game in comparison to the Monroe’s and Johnson’s of last season. I think we will see more of KOQ than we originally thought. Embiid and Horford will play less minutes now that they have a quality backup like KOQ.
Bold prediction: pop that Kork this year. Furkan cracks the rotation for a while this year, and will actually be able to hang this year. Watching this preseason, he seems more comfortable, a little stronger, and I’ve been incredibly impressed with his passing ability. If his shoot begins to fall at a high percentage, you’ll see him play more. With the guys the Sixers send out with him, they can easily mask his defensive limitations.
Best thing to happen to Shake is the Sixers finally figuring out that he isn’t a point guard. Shake has shot well, from what I watched this preseason, and again it seems as if Brett is going to have a deep rotation in the beginning of the season. Shake will have a good shot of cracking the rotation. To me he seems a little slow but he will be able to make up for that if he shoots well.
I have no idea about him honestly. Undersized 2 guard that needs to work on his shooting. He seems as if Brett doesn’t want to play him in the pre-season so my guess is Smith plays a bunch in the g-league. Makes sense, he was a development project coming into the draft and what he had to go through last season with the allergic reaction, he more than likely has a ton still to work on.
My guess is one of these guys are moved by the end of the season. Assuming the OKC pick, the one we got back in the Fultz trade, doesn’t convey the Sixers will have like 9 2nd round picks that can be used as trade chips. So, come trade time I can see one of these guys being moved for a wing. Especially if Brown sees Richardson as the backup PG come playoff time.
As far as who I like more, I don’t know honestly. The concept of Burke is intriguing. But there is a reason he only got a partially guaranteed deal. As we stand today, I would lean team Burke, but I reserve my right to change my mind as I see them play more throughout the season.
Trade him, cut him, burry him on the bench, for all I care. Jonah honestly looks lost. He is just a foul machine with a really hard shot that goes in once in a while. His basketball IQ just seems so low, and that’s scary considering his age and amount of years he has been playing professional basketball. He is on a cheap deal, and has the measurables that another team may want to try to develop him. But for the Sixers my belief it would be best to move on or not play him ever.
So, the two-way guys I don’t know much to really talk about. Pelle impressed me with his defense the other night against the pistons. I would hate to see him converted to a full contract by the end of the year. I wouldn’t expect much PT with him being behind Joel, Al, and KOQ but with rest and injuries throughout the season I’d rather see him get burn than Bolden. As far as Mayok, from a little that I saw I don’t hate him. He’ll get a lot of run in the g-league and hopefully develop into a player in the future.
My biggest concerns with this team are obviously injuries. When it comes to injuries that take players out for a few weeks or so it concerns me if that player would be Tobias, Ben, or J Rich. I honestly believe losing them for a short period of time would be more harmful than losing Joel. Obviously, the team will only go as far as Joel, but I believe they are better equipped to lose him for a short period of time, than the wings.
Other than that, and I don’t want to be a RA-RA guy but this team is really good. My guess is they struggle offensively to begin the season but they will figure it out. The basketball IQ on this team is really high and they seem to like playing for/with each other. I just think they are going to be really good. I picked them at 58 wins because I think they start a little slow, and honestly just to kind of tailor my own expectations. I say 58 but I believe that they can absolutely win over 60. Strap in because this is going to be a fun year!
oh yea … I’ll see you guys on Broad Street in June. This may be the homer ra-ra coming out in me but the Philadelphia 76ers will be NBA Champions after this season.