The 76ers seem to finally have finished a rebuild that has felt like forever. After years and years of finishing towards the bottom of the NBA standings, Philadelphia finally broke through into the playoffs last season. This season the 76ers are one of the favorites to come out of the East.
Last season, Philadelphia finished with a record of 52-30, which was good enough to clinch the third seed in the East. The 76ers went on to beat the Miami Heat in the first round in five games. In the second round, Philadelphia faced the Boston Celtics and fell in five games. The postseason was by no means a failure though, as it gave multiple young players valuable playoff experience.
The Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, and Boston Celtics are the three favorites to come out on top of the Eastern Conference. They are all also in the Atlantic Division. The 76ers will not have an easy path to winning the Eastern Conference in the regular season.
The starting Point Guard for the 76ers is Ben Simmons. Simmons finished with Rookie of the Year honors. He averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game. He is also a solid defender. Simmons had 1.7 steals per game.
J.J. Redick is the starting Shooting Guard for Philadelphia. Redick averaged 17.1 points per game last season. He is a solid veteran Guard to have with this team. I believe he will continue to play a big role in the development of Markelle Fultz.
The 76ers also have T.J. McConnell and Jerryd Bayless coming off the bench. McConnell averaged 6.3 points per game. Bayless averaged 7.9 points per game last season. Both players should be solid off the bench again this season.
Philadelphia picked up Landry Shamat and Shake Milton in this year’s draft. Shamat was drafted in the first round from Wichita State. Milton came over in a trade from Dallas. He played for SMU last season. Both players are not likely to see a large role this season.
Philadelphia lost Marco Belinelli in the offseason to the San Antonio Spurs. Belinelli played in 28 games for the 76ers last season and averaged 13.6 points per game. His shooting was helpful in opening up the court for the 76ers.
Overall the Guards for Philadelphia are really strong. I believe the real key to their core though is if Markelle Fultz comes out strong this season. If he does, it gives the 76ers a lot of options. Fultz could go into the starting lineup, Simmons could drop to a Forward position or Redick could come off the bench. Either way the 76ers could be lethal if Fultz becomes that starting Guard they drafted him to be.
Robert Covington will start at Small Forward, while Dario Saric will start at Power Forward to begin this season. Covington earned All-Defensive First Team Honors last season. He averaged 12.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last season. Saric averaged 14.6 points and 6.7 rebounds. Both players are solid starters.
Philadelphia traded for Wilson Chandler in the offseason. With Denver last season, Chandler averaged 10 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He started in 71 of his 74 games last season. I believe that he is a better player off the bench. He is a good change of pace type of guy.
The 76ers also have Amir Johnson coming off the bench. Johnson played in 74 games but was not a big part offensively. He averaged 4.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He is still going to be another key bench player in the 76ers lineup.
Philadelphia added Zhaire Smith via a trade with Phoenix during the draft. Smith was with Texas Tech last season. He was more of a Guard with the Red Raiders, but he can also play Forward. He is not the biggest player, but has a serious talent playing defense. I believe he could see quite a bit of time this season.
Even without Simmons at Forward, the 76ers forward core is by no means bad. Philadelphia has a group of Forwards that should excel defensively. The nice thing that comes with defensive Forwards is that they can guard just about any position. The offense from Philadelphia’s lineup could be inconsistent, but with solid scorers elsewhere, it should not hold the team back.
Joel Embiid will start at Center this season. Embiid finished with Second Team All-Defensive honors. He led the team with 22.9 points, 11 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He has struggled staying healthy for a full season, but a fresh start this season could be nice. Embiid is the backbone of this team.
The 76ers starting lineup is still very solid. I believe that Philadelphia could also see a big breakout season from Markelle Fultz. If the rumors are true, his new and improved shot should change his game and how the 76ers utilize him. I believe this could be a good year for the 76ers all around.
Philadelphia has been actively looking for players to add via trade. I do not believe they will be apart of a blockbuster trade before the season begins, but they could add some solid players at the trade deadline. This will allow them to build up on depth before a playoff run.
BetOnline has the 76ers listed at a win total of 54 ½. Philadelphia finished with 52 wins last season, but they continued development of their younger players should propel them this season. I believe that this team could compete for the top spot in the East. The best bet for the 76ers is over the win total.