Whether or not you believed in “The Process,” you can’t deny what the Philadelphia 76ers are doing is extremely exciting.
Maybe the anticipation is overblown considering this is “The Dark Age” of Philadelphia sports, but why pump the breaks?
You, the Philly sports fan, deserve something to smile about, something to follow without gaining a headache and something to spend your money on without wondering why.
Most importantly, you deserve games beyond the regular season.
I’m referring to a “P” word and it’s not “Process” or “Patience.”
I’m talking about … Playoffs.
With the additions of Markelle Fultz, J.J. Reddick and Amir Johnson, along with the hopeful health of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, as well as the development of Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, T.J. McConnell and Nik Stauskas, there’s no reason the Sixers shouldn’t be a playoff team in the East.
And if they’re not, changes must happen with the front office, coaching staff or both. Standards must be risen.
In fairness, the Sixers success and chemistry won’t happen overnight. This talented team will need time to gel. But, in a conference that’s losing Paul George and Jimmy Butler, not being at least a No. 8 seed is unacceptable.
Whether you’re a “Son of Sam” or not, you’ve waited too long to watch another year of inconsistent basketball. You deserve a winner.
So, I predict Embiid will play 55 games and Simmons 60. My guess is they’ll both be on restrictions like Embiid was last season, but not as severe. If they can stay healthy, those numbers are realistic and if they play that amount, they’ll make the playoffs. Anything less would hurt their chances.
If Fultz plays 75 and Saric remains a workhorse, along with the guidelines listed above, I foresee a 43-39 record, which isn’t anything to ride down Broad Street with, but should be good enough for a postseason birth.
Some will argue playoffs aren’t a must this season, using Minnesota as an example. Yet, that young nucleus is being forced to develop in the dominate West. I can’t imagine a team as talented Minnesota failing to make the playoffs if they played in the weaker conference, one they were 13-17 against in 2016-17 compared to 18-34 in the other.
Regardless, Sixers season ticket sales are through the roof and excitement hasn’t been this high since the days of Allen Iverson.
Demand a product that’s worth your enthusiasm. Don’t settle for lottery night, the draft and trade deadline as the only important days for your beloved 76ers.
Before I forget….
-Scott Kingery is hitting .325 with four homeruns, eight RBIs and nine runs scored in 10 games with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. His on base percentage and strikeout to walk ratio could improve, however, the 23-year-old has still impressed an made an immediate impact. It’s very arguable the Phils kept him in Double A Reading too long. They now have the chance to avoid holding him back from a promotion to the major leagues. Even though they’re downplaying the significance of taking ground balls at third base before games, if he’s good enough and Maikel Franco continues to flounder, Kingery should get called up before the season is over. Would it be so bad if the Phils got a head start on next season?
-Flyers general manager Ron Hextall let Steve Mason walk for 32-year-old goalie Brian Elliot. Hexy wants a platoon and Mason wasn’t a fan of that philosophy. Not that Mason was in Hextall’s league as a player, but when Mase was on, Mase was on. There’s a reason he holds the third most wins in franchise history playing along mediocre teams. It’s amazing the last reliable No. 1 goalie the Flyers sported was Hextall himself. It’s been a major enigma for the franchise for years. While it’s very unlikely this happens for Mason, cross your fingers he doesn’t pull a Sergei Brobofsky and win the Vezina.
-Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich told SiriusXM the Birds coaching staff needs to “pull the reins back a little bit” for Carson Wentz and not overwhelm him with too many offensive concepts because of his age. Wentz has proven to be smarter than most signal callers his age. Why limit him?