The Sixers are slouches no more
PHILADELPHIA,PA - NOVEMBER 1 : Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers gets the crowd pumped up the Atlanta Hawks at Wells Fargo Center on October 25,2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
As of this writing, the Philadelphia 76ers are sitting pretty among the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference, touting a six-win, four-loss card, and flaunting how their self-styled "process" is finally bearing fruit.
They are second overall in assists per game, third overall in three-pointers made, 11th overall in steals, and fourth overall in rebounds per game.
They have two players among the top 20 most efficient at this point in the season — the same two who could be the first Philly All-Stars since… Jrue Holiday in 2013.
Yes, the Sixers currently have a winning record, are on track to be a playoff contender, and may have, not one, but two All-Stars in a few months.
The City of Brotherly Love finally has real, tangible reasons to love their basketball team again. These Sixers are slouches no more, Bryan Colangelo is toasting champagne, and somewhere Sam Hinkie is having a laugh.
It was not more than two seasons ago when this same franchise won a tear-jerking total of ten wins, were chastised for picking injury-prone Joel Embiid with the third overall pick, endured the season-long absence of sidelined Ben Simmons, and were the collective punchline of the basketball world.
Now Simmons is tearing up their foes with eye-popping averages of 17.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.7 steals per game, while Embiid has been beastin' and feastin' in limited minutes with a jaw-dropping double-double line of 20.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per contest, while also shooting 52 percent from the field.
Yes, one may argue that Philly's schedule has not been too difficult, but close losses to the Wizards and the Rockets and a road win at Houston and Utah have served notice that, hey, this is a team people should not overlook.
Of course, with only 10 games in the books as of this writing, it is still way too early to say Philadelphia has exorcised the ghosts of seasons past. There is, however, certainly a lot of promise, and the much-ballyhooed potential of their young studs (Robert Covington included) has finally looked relatively tangible. Veterans like JJ Redick and Jerryd Bayless have also made quite the impact, while Dario Saric and TJ McConnell have been solid role players.
In a nutshell, there is a lot to be excited about with these Sixers — the Jahlil Okafor telenovela and Markelle Fultz mystery notwithstanding. Sure, they aren't gonna win the championship and are almost certainly going to be bounced in the first round of the postseason in the event they get there (and they should), but they are by no means the butt of jokes anymore.
The process is working, things are turning around, and the odds finally seem to be tilting in the Sixers' favor.
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