In what seems to be the best news I personally have gotten, the NBA has found a front running location for a return to play. Maybe the NBA is trying to bring some magic back to the world, because it seems like they may be teaming up with Mickey and the 2019-2020 season may be finished at Disney World.
If the league is able to resume, I have 6 key things I really want to see how it goes for the 76ers. Been thinking about it for a while now, obviously not much else sports to think about.
Before the season abrutly ended, we saw a coming out party for Shake. He seemed to really take it up a notch, and given the opportunity to play with Ben sidelined he took full advantage. Seeing if Shake can continue to play well, and play well into the playoffs is key not only for the team to win, but now we will know more about his ability, which could change off season plans and draft plans. It will also be good to see how Shake and Ben can play together.
And speaking of Ben, Elton Brand has said that Ben will be ready if the NBA resumes. So how does Ben come back, he was playing at a higher level prior to the break. Attacking the rim, getting to the line, and shooting FT’s at a higher percentage. It seemed like him and Joel were getting on the same page offensively. And of course Ben’s defense has been elite all season. Do we get that same Ben back after the injury?
Joel seemed like a shell of himself, he put up stats but did not have the impact on the game that we have grown accustom to. It appeared that he snapped out of whatever funk he was in, and we started to see that dominate fun loving player we grew to love. Extended time off for Joel tends to not help him, he was quoted earlier this season that he gets out of shape quickly, does that mean during this quarantine he may come back in not so good shape? Or has he kept up working out on his own. Elton did say that Joel could use the facility through this time to rehab some nagging injuries, and Joel did post a photo after a “quarentine session” where we saw him sprawled out on the ground after a workout. Joel is key to this team winning, hopefully the top 5 player that we know Joel can be is the player that returns.
What did Brett do during this quarantine. He has been given a funky line up to try to make work. Did Brett study and find a new way to make this what seems like a square peg fit into a round hole? Did Brett find something that could make it work? And does he make that adjustment when they return?
Everyone’s favorite 109 million dollar man. In what seemed to be a down season for a player making that kind of money, towards the end we saw him pick his game up a little, although without Ben in the line up. In the last 10 games he shot 38% from 3 and had a little spring in his step in comparison to most of the season. Earlier in the season I happened to hear Kyle Neubek of the Philly Voice talk about Boston reporters saying Al tends to slump mid-season and then ramp up for the playoffs.
Beyond that, there was a small period of time that it was believed Al was dealing with some Achilles soreness. His name appeared on an injury report once, and there was an ESPN article that said the same. Is this time off what Al needed to get back to playing at a playoff level? And if Horford was ramping up for the playoffs before the stoppage, can he come out the gate and continue that kind of ramping up?
What team is going to show up if play resumes? Best home team in the league or the horrid road team we saw all season? How does playing with no fans effect guys who seem to feed off the home crowd energy? Did they examine what they did different on the road and come up with a plan to fix it? Hopefully, we find out.
This year’s team did not live up to the hype at all. But it has been said multiple times this team is built for the playoffs. With players using this time to heal up, and hopefully re-energize , the NBA returning for the 2019-2020 season will be key in determining what this team really is. Maybe they’ll mess around and win a chip, maybe they wont, but there are a ton of questions still to be answered. Finishing the season will hopefully give some insight into those questions.