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Philadelphia 76ers Optimistic in Unfamiliar Territory

embiid

Barring an absolute implosion, the Philadelphia 76ers are on their way to making the playoffs for the first time since 2012. The starting lineup that year: Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes. The 76ers, after starting a concerning 0-3, have grown up this season, and now sit at 36-29 with 17 regular season games left to go in the 2017-2018 campaign. They currently sit in 6th place in the Eastern Conference, right around where they were projected to be by most “experts” in the beginning of the season. They are currently 6.5 games ahead of the 9th place Detroit Pistons and it would take a long shot for either the 76ers to play that poorly and the Pistons to play that well to knock the Sixers of the playoffs.

The good news keeps on coming. The 76ers are currently 20-10 at the Wells Fargo Center this season, which means they have 11 of their 17 games remaining in the “City of Brotherly Love”. Furthermore, of those 17 games left, only 4 (!!!) of those games are against teams that are currently in the playoffs (Cleveland, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Indiana) and they are all at home.

Being two games out of the the 3rd spot with Cleveland, Indiana and Washington narrowly ahead, is it crazy to think that the 76ers might just host a playoff series? It doesn’t seem too crazy at all. After the 76ers’ beatdown of the Nets in Brooklyn, Brett Brown said, “I think we’re learning. I feel these games, as much as we want to win and we do, we’re trying to move up the food chain, we’re trying to move up as far as we can”.

This team is clicking. Minus a few blips in the radar (Robert Covington’s Inconsistencies, Joel Embiid’s foul trouble, Ben Simmons’ free throws), this team is rolling right now. Ben Simmons has been everything and more. Joel Embiid has played like an all-star starter, along with keeping his health intact (please keep it this way). Dario Saric has played like a legitimate third option and above-average NBA power forward in his second season. Robert Covington has still been a dominant “3 and D” guy. TJ McConnell has continued to be a spark plug off of the bench. JJ Redick and the pickups of Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova have all provided the shooting that Philly has lacked.

This team is young and inexperienced. They still commit the most turnovers in the league (by a decent margin), take some extremely dumb shots and sometimes have trouble executing in the end of games. However, let’s take it back to what Joel Embiid tweeted in June after the barrage of trades, “Playoffs spots are opening up hehehehe #TheProcess”. Yes Jojo, hope you’re ready to snag one of them.

 

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