The Philadelphia 76ers have reached 30 wins. Repeat: The Philadelphia 76ers have reached 30 wins. After coming back from 24 down in the 2nd half to stun the Heat, the 76ers sit at 30-25, 7th in the Eastern Conference, with a 1.5 game lead on the Heat who sit at #8 and back only 1.5 games to the Bucks and Pacers who sit at #5 and #6 respectively. The 76ers haven’t hit 30 wins in a full season since 2012, and this is the first time they have had 30 wins before the all-star break since the 2000-2001 team that reached the NBA finals. There is a lot to take from the first 55 games of the season, let’s break it down with some positives and negatives.
Positive: Ben Simmons has lived up to the hype, and then some: He might have been snubbed from the all-star game, and there’s a chance he gets the Rookie of the Year honors stolen from him too, but go ahead, that’s about the motivate him even more. The shooting is a work in progress still, but he’s averaging 16 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists without a jump shot! His turnover numbers are still a little high, but at this point we really are nitpicking.
Negative: The Markelle Fultz saga: Keeping this short and sweet; Markelle Fultz is going to be okay. Sixers fans have waited a year with both Embiid and Simmons, it’s just another test of the patience. He is going to build his shot again from the grip of the ball all the way to the follow through. If it means him missing the remainder of the season to get there, so be it. Don’t call him a bust this early on.
Positive: Bryan Colangelo has yet to make a bad move this season: Even going back to free agency, there hasn’t been a move that the 76ers faithful can complain about. JJ Redick and Amir Johnson have done their jobs and are on short term deals. Moving Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas for Trevor Booker looks like a win and the acquisition of Marco Belinelli gives the 76ers another veteran shooter.
Negative: The 76ers still lead the league in turnovers: It isn’t even close really. At 17.5 turnovers per game (1.5 more than the 2nd highest Los Angeles Lakers), could you imagine the 76ers record if they were even in the middle of the pack? Despite the addition of vets, this team is still young and growing.
Positive: The remaining schedule for this team looks favorable: Despite the 76ers having 14 games on the road remaining along with 13 at home, the opponents are rather favorable. 17 of the 25 games left on the schedule are against teams currently on the outside of playoff contention.
Negative: Cautious approach for Joel Embiid continues: This might not be a full negative, but the way that they treat Joel Embiid is frustrating from a fan’s perspective. Due to “load management”, ankle and back injuries, Embiid has missed 11 games already throughout the season.
Positive: The Lakers Pick is in a good spot: This pick has been all over the place through the years, but since the Markelle Fultz trade, if the Lakers pick in the 2018 draft is 2-5, it will belong to the Boston Celtics. Any other result, and the 76ers will get it. The Lakers started off hot to begin the season, and despite cooling off a little bit lately, that pick currently still sits at #10, and a good 5.5 games up over the #5 spot (Sacramento). It’s looking more and more likely that the 76ers will continue to reel in young talent, with 2 first rounders in the 2018 draft.