Four years, dozens of players, hundreds of games and millions anticipating the next move; June 22nd 2017 was the night everything finally paid off. All the patience and eagerness for the fans of the Philadelphia 76ers came together when the team selected Washington Point Guard Markelle Fultz first overall in the draft. Does this finally mean the Sixers are done tanking?! Yes. It might just be time that the Sixers Process of tanking, becomes the Process of winning.
You’re looking at a core of Fultz, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid. Screw what ESPN says about the lack of minutes with Simmons and Embiid since they can’t even keep respected reporters or analysts due to “public pressure”. This team is ready to compete. Yes, Simmons and Embiid need to stay healthy but I’m excited that reports indicate both will be OFF of their minutes restriction come October. Throw in Saric and Fultz and you have four guys who could really come together as the next Super Team over the next decade in the NBA.
What really has me excited, however, is the gluttony of assets still remaining and cap space the Sixers have to pursue free agents to put around their young core. It’s going to be crucial for the Sixers to surround their young guys with capable veterans, especially proven veterans who can offer mentoring and experience as a part of growing in the NBA. The Eastern Conference is a joke. The Cavs are the strongest team but they’re in a big questioning year with LeBron James set to be a free agent next year and likely bolting out of Cleveland for the likes of Los Angeles to form a new Super Team to take down the Warriors. Throw in the fact Kyrie Irving claimed he would demand a trade if LeBron left and down go the Cavs into the basement of the NBA. Here’s a thought I had on our latest podcast episode; let’s assume the Sixers stay relatively healthy this upcoming season, make the playoffs and steal a series. I really believe the Sixers could call up LeBron and make a serious offer for him to remain in the East where he has dominated and join a young core. Think about. Let’s say the Cavs fall a part in the playoffs or ultimately lose another Finals to the Warriors. LeBron will be 34, still the best player in the world and damn good at what he does. At his age, joining a young team of blooming superstars, he could take on a “lesser” role with guys capable of doing so much, all while being able to do what he does best. He wouldn’t have to go out and drop 40 to win. It would the perfect situation for him to join a young, hungry squad all while preserving his body and game for the twilight of his career.
Okay, with that in mind, let’s look at the now. The now tells me head coach Brett Brown finally has a core that can win. Win the Finals? No. But they could easily challenge the Celtics for the division and with how putrid the East is, they could swipe a 3 or 4 seed and have a home court advantage for a playoff series. Now, how would they get there? General Manager Bryan Colangelo needs to add some talent to this team now. You have the FEDS (Fultz, Embiid, Dario and Simmons) and some nice pieces like Robert Covington, Nick Stauskas, TJ McConnell, Richaun Holmes, Timothe Luwau-Cabarrot, Gerald Henderson and the possibility of one of last year’s draft picks Furkan Korkmaz joining the team. One guy in free agency who stands out above all is JJ Redick. Redick would cost the Sixers, but not in a max deal type of situation. Redick is a deadly three point shooter, someone who could park his white ass in the corner and with distributors like Fultz and Simmons commanding attention, having them rifle a pass to Redick for threes would be almost unstoppable. Another guy I like is point guard Patty Mills. Mills has played his entire career for the San Antonio Spurs. He knows Brett Brown, comes from a winning program and would provide as a solid, veteran backup for Fultz. Lastly on this list, and this one is kind of a lesser possibility and hasn’t been rumored but I’d love to see, would be Pau Gasol. Even with Gasol being 37, you could bring him in cheap and have him as a guy off of the bench who would provide a ton of leadership for the younger big men. Gasol is still productive in his older age too, but I would be all for it on the aspect of leadership. With all of the young guys the Sixers have, surrounding them with proven vets would really do this team a lot of good.
Obviously we could speculate on any and all free agents now looking into Philadelphia as a likely destination. Oh how the tables have turned. What was once a basketball town seen as a loser and mediocrity, has risen from the ashes and taken not only Philadelphia by storm, but the entire NBA by storm as well. Thank you Sam Hinkie for making this happen. His vision and his balls were the driving force in taking a mediocre team and turning them one destined for glory. And yes, thank you Bryan Colangelo, for taking Hinkie’s assets and cashing in on Markelle Fultz. The Process has Processed, but now begins a new Process; the Process of getting to the Finals and winning a championship.
Side note, if I had a dollar for every time I said “Process” within the last year, I could buy every free agent the city would want.
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