Projecting the Sixers Ceiling and Floor for the 2017-18 Season

Joel Embiid
FILE – In this Jan. 16, 2017, file photo, Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid watches during an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Milwaukee. Embiid has not been cleared for 5-on-5 drills and the team will take a cautious approach in his return from his injured left knee. Embiid’s career has been riddled with injuries dating to his college career at Kansas and all three seasons with the Sixers. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash, File(

Although​ ​the​ ​Sixers​ ​finished​ ​with​ ​a​ ​lackluster​ ​record​ ​last​ ​season,​ ​there​ ​was​ ​still plenty​ ​to​ ​be​ ​encouraged​ ​about.​ ​Saric​ ​finally​ ​came​ ​stateside,​ ​Covington​ ​established himself​ ​as​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​premier​ ​perimeter​ ​defenders,​ ​and​ ​Embiid​ ​captivated​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​city of​ ​Philadelphia​ ​with​ ​his​ ​stellar​ ​performance.​ ​Heading​ ​into​ ​this​ ​season​ ​there​ ​are​ ​even more​ ​reasons​ ​to​ ​be​ ​excited-​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​a​ ​few​ ​reasons​ ​to​ ​be​ ​skeptical-​ ​about​ ​the​ ​Philly based​ ​franchise.​ ​I’ll​ ​break​ ​them​ ​all​ ​down​ ​as​ ​I​ ​project​ ​the​ ​ceiling​ ​and​ ​the​ ​floor​ ​for​ ​the 2017-18​ ​Sixers:

Floor:​

Let’s​ ​start​ ​with​ ​the​ ​worst​ ​case​ ​scenario.​ ​Although​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​they​ ​have​ ​the tools​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​successful​ ​franchise​ ​this​ ​year,​ ​the​ ​reality​ ​is​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Sixers​ ​have​ ​major injury​ ​concerns​ ​heading​ ​into​ ​this​ ​season.​ ​Embiid​ ​and​ ​Simmons​ ​injury​ ​histories​ ​are​ ​well documented,​ ​and​ ​2017​ ​#1​ ​overall​ ​pick​ ​Markelle​ ​Fultz​ ​is​ ​now​ ​dealing​ ​with​ ​shoulder soreness.​ ​You​ ​simply​ ​can’t​ ​win​ ​games​ ​if​ ​your​ ​top​ ​three​ ​players​ ​are​ ​sidelined​ ​for extended​ ​periods​ ​of​ ​time,​ ​so​ ​health​ ​will​ ​be​ ​the​ ​key​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Sixers​ ​season.

Another​ ​thing​ ​I​ ​feel​ ​is​ ​being​ ​lost​ ​in​ ​the​ ​buzz​ ​and​ ​excitement​ ​of​ ​the​ ​upcoming season​ ​is​ ​the​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​an​ ​established​ ​winning​ ​culture​ ​only.​ ​Philly​ ​has​ ​only​ ​registered​ ​a mere​ ​75​ ​wins​ ​in​ ​the​ ​last​ ​four​ ​seasons​ ​combined-​ ​an​ ​average​ ​of​ ​roughly​ ​19​ ​games.​ ​It’s easy,​ ​and​ ​perhaps​ ​even​ ​well​ ​founded,​ ​to​ ​say​ ​how​ ​the​ ​past​ ​teams​ ​weren’t​ ​nearly​ ​as talented​ ​as​ ​the​ ​current​ ​bunch,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​a​ ​winning​ ​culture​ ​remains.​ ​This​ ​isn’t​ ​to say​ ​the​ ​Sixers​ won’t ​ ​establish​ ​one,​ ​but​ ​if​ ​one​ ​isn’t​ ​ingrained​ ​early​ ​the​ ​season​ ​may​ ​get away​ ​from​ ​them​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​at​ ​times.

My​ ​last​ ​worry​ ​about​ ​the​ ​Sixers​ ​is​ ​the​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​consistent​ ​outside​ ​shooting.​ ​Last season,​ ​the​ ​Sixers​ ​ranked​ ​25th​ ​in​ ​three​ ​point​ ​percentage​ ​(34%)​ ​whilst​ ​attempting​ ​the seventh​ ​most​ ​three​ ​point​ ​attempts​ ​per​ ​game​ ​(31.2).​ ​Over​ ​the​ ​past​ ​several​ ​seasons​ ​the NBA​ ​has​ ​transformed​ ​into​ ​a​ ​three​ ​point​ ​reliant​ ​league,​ ​and​ ​it​ ​was​ ​apparent​ ​the​ ​Sixers wanted​ ​to​ ​feature​ ​it​ ​in​ ​their​ ​offense,​ ​but​ ​did​ ​not​ ​have​ ​the​ ​personnel.​ ​While​ ​offseason additions​ ​JJ​ ​Redick,​ ​Markelle​ ​Fultz,​ ​and​ ​Furkan​ ​Korkmaz​ should provide​ ​aid​ ​in​ ​that area,​ ​it​ ​remains​ ​to​ ​be​ ​seen​ ​if​ ​or​ ​with​ ​what​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​consistency​ ​Fultz​ ​and​ ​Korkmaz​ ​can do​ ​it​ ​at​ ​the​ ​NBA​ ​level.

Out​ ​of​ ​these​ ​three​ ​Sixers​ ​struggles​ ​I’d​ ​say​ ​health​ ​is​ ​the​ ​biggest​ ​obstacle​ ​to overcome.​ ​Philly​ ​can​ ​maneuver​ ​their​ ​way​ ​through​ ​a​ ​pedestrian​ ​Eastern​ ​conference whilst​ ​learning​ ​what​ ​it​ ​takes​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​winning​ ​team.​ ​The​ ​team​ ​could​ ​also​ ​manufacture wins​ ​without​ ​shooting​ ​a​ ​barrage​ ​of​ ​three​ ​pointers.​ ​If​ ​the​ ​injury​ ​bug​ ​rears​ ​its​ ​head​ ​again; however,​ ​the​ ​Sixers​ ​can’t​ ​hope​ ​to​ ​be​ ​more​ ​than​ ​the​ ​tenth​ ​or​ ​eleventh​ ​seed​ ​in​ ​the​ ​East, especially​ ​if​ ​Embiid​ ​gets​ ​injured​ ​(viciously​ ​knocks​ ​on​ ​wood).

 

Ceiling:​ ​

In​ ​all​ ​honesty,​ ​if​ ​the​ ​team​ ​remains​ ​healthy​ ​and​ ​Fultz​ ​and​ ​Simmons​ ​are what​ ​they’re​ ​expected​ ​to​ ​be,​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​see​ ​a​ ​way​ ​the​ ​Sixers​ ​finish​ ​outside​ ​the​ ​top​ ​five​ ​in the​ ​depleted​ ​Eastern​ ​Conference.​ ​This​ ​Sixers​ ​squad​ ​is​ ​incredibly​ ​talented​ ​and​ ​are​ ​going to​ ​create​ ​major​ ​matchup​ ​mix​ ​ups​ ​(try​ ​saying​ ​that​ ​five​ ​times​ ​fast)​ ​with​ ​their​ ​jumbo​ ​lineup. We​ ​caught​ ​a​ ​glimpse​ ​of​ ​what​ ​the​ ​team​ ​was​ ​capable​ ​of​ ​last​ ​season​ ​with​ ​Embiid​ ​leading the​ ​charge,​ ​and​ ​with​ ​the​ ​big​ ​man​ ​healthy​ ​along​ ​with​ ​reinforcements​ ​it’s​ ​difficult​ ​not​ ​be excited​ ​about​ ​their​ ​potential.​ ​Brett​ ​Brown​ ​finally​ ​has​ ​a​ ​full​ ​arsenal​ ​at​ ​his​ ​disposal​ ​and​ ​I believe​ ​he​ ​leads​ ​this​ ​team​ ​to​ ​a​ ​44+​ ​win​ ​season​ ​and​ ​their​ ​first​ ​playoff​ ​berth​ ​since​ ​2012.

 

Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Aaron Gash

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