It’s nice to live minute-to-minute. Riding the wave of life, experiencing the gamut of emotions, and acquiring a rolodex of memories with nary a stress in the world. A life lived like this is unfulfilling, though. To truly get the most out of life, one must try to achieve. And in order to achieve, one must have a plan. Look at the current NBA. So many smart people running teams, yet they navigate the landscape like a stoned teenager walking through a grocery store. Look! Twinkies! Mmmmm, I’m so hungry. These will taste so good. Oh! Chips.
Former general manager of the 76ers, Sam Hinkie, had a plan. If you haven’t read his Manifesto, I highly recommend that you do. There’s so much goodness there, but I wanted to focus on this excerpt:
“It is critical to be cycle aware in a talent-driven league. In a situation like yours at the Sixers, where a variety of circumstances left you near a trough in the cycle (and falling), amplifying this cycle became crucial. Today’s outcomes for every team are heavily impacted by decisions past (who to draft, sign, trade, hire, etc.). Jeff Bezos says that if Amazon has a good quarter it’s because of work they did 3, 4, 5 years ago-not because they did a good job that quarter. Today’s league-leading Golden State Warriors acquired Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, and Klay Thompson almost 4 years ago, nearly 4 years ago exactly, and almost 5 years ago. In this league, the long view picks at the lock of mediocrity.”
TTP. Trust the Process.
2016 record: 28-54
- Gerald Henderson waived
This team should be much improved. By how much depends primarily on the health of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. With that said, this team is not elevating to contender status yet, even if everyone is healthy. It’s going to take time for everyone to figure out their roles and learn how to play with each other. It’s going to be a process.
PG – Number one overall pick, Markelle Fultz will be the starting point guard, although how much he actually facilitates the offense remains to be seen. More than likely, Ben Simmons will act as point forward with Fultz running off screens and spotting up. When Simmons rests, which could be plenty this season, is when Fultz should shine. T.J. McConnell and Jerryd Bayless are behind Fultz on the depth chart. Neither should be fantasy relevant.
SG – J. J. Redick is such a good fit for this team, as he’s going to help space the floor. Last season, he shot a tick under 43% from three-land. The year before 47%. I can see that number being closer to 47% this year, as he’s going to get so many open looks. For the past couple of seasons, Redick has ended right around the 100th overall player. Any guesses as to where I rank him this year? Behind Redick is TLC (Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot) and Nik Stauskas. Without an injury to the backcourt, I’m not seeing enough minutes for either to be fantasy relevant.
SF – Robert Covington is an oft-debated player in fantasy. He doesn’t excel in any category, but he contributes in all. I value him higher than most. He was one of five players last season to be in the 1/1/1 club (one block, one steal, and one three-pointer). He’s really good on defense, so he’s going to be on the court. With all the other weapons that the Sixers have, he’s going to have plenty of opportunities to contribute. Behind him are Justin Anderson and Furkan Korkmaz. Anderson flashed potential last season, but minutes are going to be tough to get. Korkmaz will probably be stashed in Europe.
PF – The Sixers are so deep at power forward. Ben Simmons is projected to be the starter and Dario Saric and Amir Johnson are behind him. It’s going to be interesting just how many minutes Simmons receives and how many games he plays. There’s no reason to push him. Saric will be the first one off the bench. While his minutes will probably come down from last year, there are going to be stretches when he gets plenty of playing time. Amir is the interesting one in the group. He’s probably going to be the “swing man” in the front court, as he’s versatile enough to play multiple positions. A lot of his value is tied to what the Sixers do with Jahlil Okafor.
C – Who Gonna Sex Embiid? Please, please let Embiid be healthy. I’ll buy a rosary and say a thousand Hail Mary’s, I’ll purchase a prayer rug and kneel towards Mecca, I’ll sing hymns, I’ll sacrifice whatever needs to be sacrificed. Whatever it takes because he is that good. Per 36 last season, 28.7 points, 3.5 blocks, 1.7 steals, 4.1 assists, 15.1 rebounds with 2.2 three-pointers and a 78% free throw percentage. When Embiid sits, I think Richaun Holmes plays. While Okafor is a better offensive player, Holmes is better on the glass and on defense. The Sixers won’t be lacking in offensive firepower.