After getting spanked by the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night, the 76ers sit at 0-3 after a relatively tough first three game stretch. A brutal first 20 game schedule consists of 16 games against playoff teams, and a west coast swing, so the slow start shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Especially with a team with so many new pieces, they will take some time to get going. However, there are still some things of note to take from the first three performances of the young season.
Jerryd Bayless is going to be a major contributor: It seemed that after all of the adversity TJ McConnell has been put through, that he would have no problem surpassing Bayless on the depth chart and get big minutes once again. So far, that has not been the case. Jerryd Bayless has averaged just under 16 points, and shot 50% or better in all there games so far this season including 9/16 from the three point line. It could just be a hot streak, but let’s hope he keeps it up.
Markelle Fultz’s shot is brutal, but…: if you’ve been watching the games, he’s been playing really well in almost every other facet. Other than a couple drives where he tries to do too much, he has been solid. His defense has been better than advertised, has been making a lot of nice passes and has shown the ability to play the point guard spot or off of the ball. It’s going to take some growth, but the #1 pick potential is still there. Relax everyone.
Dario Saric looks fatigued: There is no doubt that Dario Saric loves to play basketball. Unfortunately, it seems like his play for the Croatian national team this summer has exhausted him because he looks a couple of steps behind. Look for him to get back on track with some days of rest, because his jumper still looks good.
Ben Simmons is the real deal: There is no way that this kid is 21 years old. The way that he plays and the confidence he has had on the court in his first three games is unbelievable. Three straight double doubles to start the season along with at least five assists in every game, it’s amazing to watch. The free throws are a little bit concerning, but his mid range jumper has actually looked decent, and he isn’t hesitating when he is putting it up. He truly is a matchup nightmare, and it will be fun to watch his growth.
But, Joel Embiid is still the most important player on this team: The 76ers have very, very, very, very little chance of winning a game that Joel isn’t playing in. Despite his poor performance against the Celtics, his defense and energy kept the 76ers in that game for 40 minutes before Boston took over. It’s sad to see that he hasn’t been cleared for back to backs yet (which explains his DNP against the Raptors), however, the 76ers don’t have one until November 29th-30th, and he could be cleared by then. This team needs “The Process” in every game.