The Philadelphia 76ers are expected to be able to compete this year and make the playoffs. The excitement is in the air for the players, fans and coaches. The new big three of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Markelle Fultz for the Sixers talked about the chance to have success early in their careers. The Sixers have had their share of bad seasons these past couple years. A 40 or 50 win season are days that are long gone.
The team that they have this year is expected to be the first real chance of competing that the Sixers have had in a long time. Staying healthy will be key as Joel Embiid missed two seasons and a half his first three years and Ben Simmons missed a full season. Fultz also missed the rest of the summer league. If your guys aren’t playing it is difficult to win games. If everything can fall in place this will be another stepping stone in the process of “The Process.”
The Sixers may not win the NBA championship this year but they will be able to use this year to build on after they make the playoffs. Here’s what the three players had to say about the upcoming season during media day.
Ben Simmons was working on his shooting during the offseason. He was watching different shooters and practicing his shot on the court. There was a three step process to his recovery during the offseason which was the physical recovery, being in the classroom with head coach Brett Brown and then working on his shot.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) September 25, 2017
“The shooting part was just repetition and getting my shots up,” Simmons said. “Then I watched my film with my coach(Brett Brown). I watched from LSU to games of different players and how they played. I think that year (off) helped me develop as a player. I’m more quicker, stronger and faster.”
Simmons had the chance to take the year off and study the game. He was also able to study other players like Magic Johnson and LeBron James along with some shooters and cutters and how they played. He picked different aspects of their game and incorporated that into his game. Simmons will try to be a more complete player going into this season than he would have been if he was going into his true rookie year.
Simmons also talked about how he is overlooked when it comes to the rookie of the year race. He said that last year he was one of the top guys but now people have forgotten his name and that has added fuel to his fire.
“If it was a year ago you would have said you are one of the top guys for the rookie race but now it’s not even a question,” Simmons said. “Guys don’t mention my name. For me I don’t care. They’ll see what’s coming sooner or later.”
“I feel like I just came back to the states and nobody knows who I am. Which is good. I like that. I like guys forgetting about me.”
Embiid has some on court experience under his belt. He talked about still having something to prove and going out there with a chip on his shoulder. Embiid will have extra incentive to prove himself because the media said he was not able to be rookie of the year because he only played 31 games. With all the nay sayers, Embiid knows he has to stay healthy and put together an 82 game season full of consistent play to keep the doubters quiet.
.@JoelEmbiid is live on Facebook speaking to the media.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) September 25, 2017
“I intend to win but to do that I’ve got to stay healthy,” Embiid said. “I’ll do anything to win. I’ll put my body on the line to win. I feel like people haven’t seen what I can do and it’s also because I’ve played 31 games. I have a lot of potential. I love when people criticize me because that makes me go to the gym and work on it.”
Embiid went on to say that being from Africa means that he has always had to work harder than everybody else and he is used to the criticism. Embiid will look to capitalize on the success that he’s had last season and go into next season trying to prove the doubters wrong.
Markelle Fultz is in the starting lineup as a rookie. Embiid and Simmons already have been with the team with their lack of on court experience but they still have knowledge of the offense and defense that the Sixers run because of being on the team. Fultz is learning the playbook and is trying to learn as much as he can before the season starts. The Sixers are looking to contend for a spot in the playoffs so he will have to be ready.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) September 27, 2017
“I asked coach for an iPad with the plays on it so I would be able to be ahead of the ball(curve),” Fultz said. “I’ve also been talking to these guys(teammates) to learn what it would be like. I’m just going to do what I do on offense. A lot of people don’t know the defense I have. I will be locked in on defense. I got a lot of respect for the people I’ll play against but at the same time being the competitor that I am, I will go out there and try my best.”
The Sixers have players with the mindset of trying their hardest and winning. The Sixers players hope to be competitive and they want to be in all the games that they play. Simmons and Embiid have things that they want to prove and Fultz is trying to prove that he can play against the best point guards night in and night out. This season for the Sixers is important because it could change how everybody from the fans to the media views Sixers basketball.