Philadelphia has a long and rich history of professional sports teams. This history has not always translated into winning, however. Since 1883, Philadelphia teams across four major league sports have won just 12 championships – and five of those championships belong to the Athletics, who left Philly in 1954. Philadelphia sports fans remain loyal, however. Loyalty pays off eventually, and a young Philadalphia 76ers team is poised to bring glory to the City of Brotherly Love once more.
There is plenty of talent on the Sixers’ roster to be excited about. Joel “The Process” Embiid shocked the basketball world last year with his explosive rookie debut, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots in just 31 games. Although injuries brought his season to a premature end, a lot of expectations are riding on him this season.
Sixers fans are rightfully excited about Markelle Fultz – the No. 1 overall pick Philadelphia drafted earlier this June – and what he might bring to the table. The Sixers made some major moves in free agency as well, signing sharpshooter J.J. Reddick to a one-year, $23 million contract. And Sixers fans would be remiss to discount the importance of Robert Covington, who has evolved into one of the best defense-minded small forwards in the league.
Perhaps most exciting is Australian forward/guard Ben Simmons, who will be making his NBA debut this October. Though he has yet to play a game of professional basketball, Simmons is already assuming a leadership role on a young Sixers squad. A year on the sidelines provided him with the opportunity to study the game more closely.
Reserve center Richaun Holmes observed, “[H]e knows his spots. Taking a year watching, you can tell it helped him.” Simmons also seems to have the full confidence of Coach Brett Brown. “A lot of times he’s right in offering advice, because he knows me, he knows our language, he can talk to the terminology, he can speak to the offense and defense.”
It remains to be seen exactly howwell his basketball IQ and leadership qualities will play out when put to the test. One thing is for certain, however: the Philadelphia 76ers have a bright future ahead of them.