Since the beginning of last season, Philadelphia 76ers’ fans have clamored for one of the team’s “core” guys to be traded. There were rumbles of putting Ben Simmons in a trade package for nearly every star available. However, the Sixers organization does not view this the same way. Instead of giving up hope on the two all-stars, the brand new front office, led by Daryl Morey, finally brought shooting to the team.
New coach Doc Rivers has some brand new shiny toys to play with. The Sixers’ recent and key offseason acquisitions of Danny Green and Seth Curry will hopefully bring some sharpshooting beyond the arc. Veteran big man Dwight Howard and newcomer Tony Bradley will solidify depth at the center position behind Joel Embiid.
After a week or so of press conferences, there has been one common theme among the new guys. Each of them is not only excited to play for a likely future hall of fame coach in Doc Rivers, but each specifically mentions that they are ecstatic to play alongside Simmons and Embiid.
Sixers’ new scheme on the horizon?
For years, fans have watched the Sixers fail to find a true identity. Coach Doc Rivers, though, has a new idea, mentioning that he’s going to let the team “find their own identity,” and that he is “going to coach around that.” To take it a step further, Doc also mentioned that he’s going to “give Ben Simmons the keys,” inferring that it will be his team.
Doc went on to mention how he “doesn’t care about Ben shooting” and “cares about him being a great player.” With all of the new shooting surrounding Ben, a guy who already averages 8.0 assists per game for his career, this team could still thrive without Ben shooting the basketball. His teammates also acknowledge this.
“He’s an exciting player,” new teammate Seth Curry had to say about Simmons. “Me and him are a perfect match in the sense that he’s a bigger ball handler that can make plays, and I’m a smaller scorer…”
Considering Seth is coming from playing with a guy like Luka Doncic, this is some pretty high praise for his new point guard.
Sixers’ big men with some big love
Dwight Howard is no average Joe when it comes to winning. Dwight, a future hall of famer, is coming off an NBA championship season with the Lakers. He mentions that part of the reason he chose Philly is that he, like Curry, is excited for the young talent on the team.
In a press conference last week, Howard mentions how he knows that Ben and Joel are both great young stars. He acknowledged the pain and heartbreak that Joel had after the quadruple-drink playoff loss to the Raptors, saying he’s been in that moment before. He wants to help bring the fire out of those guys and knows that they have potential.
Howard also went as far as comparing Ben Simmons to LeBron James and loves how the 6’10 guard is developing overall. In fact, Howard said Ben has a chance to be “one of the best to ever play the game.”
A familiar face also had high praise for his teammates. Justin Anderson, who is looking to crack the Sixers’ lineup for the second time in his career, had high praise for the Sixers’ star big man.
A big season on the horizon
As shown through the press conferences of all these new faces to the team, Ben and Joel were huge factors in their decisions. Curry, who was acquired via trade, did not have much of a choice per se, but is excited to join the team. Guys like Howard and Anderson, who had the choice, credited the two all star’s potential as a big reason on why they came to Philadelphia.
Ben and Joel will not be broken up anytime soon. They are hoping to thrive under the new Sixers’ regime. The talent is around them now, and Ben Simmons’ passing ability will shine with the shooting ability surrounding him. It’s awesome what Embiid and Simmons can bring to the team on the court, but it’s evident that what they provide for the team off the court is just as important. They interest free agents, create a great locker room culture, and go to war with their teammates each night.
Buckle up, Sixers’ fans. It’s going to be a fun season.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire