Entering the 2017-18 season, we already knew the Philadelphia 76ers had talent. Joel Embiid already flashed his obscene upside and Ben Simmons was the top overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, along with several other potential positives.
Having said that, nothing is ever sure, especially when considering the uncertainty with Embiid and Simmons from a health standpoint, as well as the idea that younger teams tend to struggle in the league.
Fast forward to late March and “The Process” is definitely paying off so far. The Philadelphia 76ers have just clinched a playoff berth, which alone is reason to celebrate considering it’s the first time they’ve done so in six seasons, along with the fact that just two years ago the team only won 10 games. Let that sink in.
The last time the Sixers made the playoffs, their rotation consisted of players like Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes, Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young — none of whom are presently on the team.
Having just won eight consecutive games, the Sixers are sitting pretty in fourth place at 44-30, just ahead of the Indiana Pacers and right behind the Lebron-led Cleveland Cavaliers. With a healthy JoJo, Rookie of the Year favorite Ben Simmons, a recently returning number one draft pick Markelle Fultz and a solid supporting cast, no one wants to play this team in the first round.
Like the Eagles fans mocked the infamous Viking chant by yelling “Foles!”, the Sixers fans in attendance at Markelle’s first game back put their own spin on it by yelling “Fultz!”
Having missed a majority of the season with a mysterious shoulder injury, the fans were happy to have him back, and he was certainly happy to be back. In just 14 minutes of action, he put up 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting, along with four boards and eight assists. Providing efficient numbers across the board, the team was a successful plus-16 while he was on the court.
While this has been the franchise’s most successful season in quite some time, it isn’t over, and nothing is guaranteed. Fans should certainly be excited for the playoff run and following seasons for potential championships. Even if they don’t make it to the NBA Finals this season, the team and its fanbase should be proud of how far they’ve come. “The Process” is paying off.
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