Today officially marks four months exactly from the last time we saw the 76ers in action. Following an obvious disappointing end to a season that once showed so much promise, it was safe to say that changes would soon be upon those inside the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Center.
The first order of business was scheduled to be finding a new home for the supposed franchise point guard. It’s no secret that a divorce between the two sides has become inevitable. Despite Simmons recently signing an extension meant to keep him in Philadelphia for the next five years. Simmons has made it clear that he does not intend to play another game as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. Whether through his training camp holdout or his latest antics (causing a disruption at practice) which resulted in a one game suspension, he’s shown he clearly he wants out.
Tasked with cleaning up this mess is general manager Daryl Morey, who already had his work cut out for him. With a team that appears to be a hedge behind the Eastern Conference’s elites despite last seasons first place finish and a limited supply of cap space.
The Sixers are forced to rely on the in-house talent in order to get over the preverbal second round hump. At least until any potential Simmons deal takes place. So we are set to see the return of both Furkan Korkmaz and Danny Green, both of whom resigned with the team this off season. As well as… more meaningful minutes for Isaiah Joe?
And they said the process is dead…
As we prepare for game one of 82, some how we enter the season with more questions than we left last season with. But of course we do, because it’s 76ers basketball right? We’ve seen sesame seed scandals, more shooting issues than a war zone, and some how it feels like the best is yet to come. This is the moment we’ve waited for so buckle up folks, because you know it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Last Season Record:
Win Total: o/u 50.5
Win Division: +360 to win Atlantic
Win Conference: +750 to win East
Win Championship: +2000 to win NBA Finals
Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Ben Simmons (?) — Tyrese Maxey — Shake Milton
SG: Seth Curry — Matisse Thybulle — Isaiah Joe
SF: Danny Green — Furkan Korkmaz — Jaden Springer
PF: Tobias Harris — Georges Niang — Paul Reed
C: Joel Embiid — Andre Drummond — Charles Bassey
– Andre Drummond
– Georges Niang
– Jaden Springer (Drafted with the 28th pick in NBA Draft)
– Dwight Howard
– George Hill
– Mike Scott
Player to Watch:
Ladies and gentlemen please let the record show that Matisse Thybulle is a special player. He may not be spoken about in the same light as some of the other young prominent role players across the league but there is no denying that the third-year man out of the University of Washington is a difference maker in his own right. It’s understandable though why Thybulle doesn’t get the same love as some of his peers.
It’s an offensive game and the people love to see points scored, and scored in bunches. It’s the reason why players such as JR Smith and Jamal Crawford are universally loved; streaky is one way to put it. When they’re off, some times it’s not pretty to watch. But, boy when they get hot… not even the NYFD could put out those fires. True microwave players to the sense of the term. Philadelphia and Doc Rivers both are familiar with a player like that — sure we all remember Lou Williams, the three time Sixth Man of the Year award winner. A player that Rivers acknowledged only had one job; to score. Well now Rivers has his hands on another one of those kinds of guys, only this times unlike his predecessors, Thybulle operates from the opposite side of the floor.
“I guess you can say he’s our defensive Lou Williams. Like Lou Williams, and I had Jamal Crawford, both offensively when you threw them in, you told them if they pass the ball once you are going to take them out. Their job was to score. Matisse’s job is to get stops when he comes in,” Rivers said in regards to Thybulle. “I haven’t had a lot of guys — Tony Allen, I guess — way back was very similar because he was coming off the bench for us.”
Since entering the league Thybulle has become known as a defensive force, achieving numerous milestones en route to becoming a member of the second team All Defense group this past season.
Obviously a potential Ben Simmons trade would mean a bigger defensive role for Thybulle heading into the season, but if the wings development continues to trend in the right direction we could be looking at the leagues next breakout star.
However in order for Thybulle to take the next step in his development he must first continue to make strides on the offensive end. Something Joel Embiid recently spoke about.
Can Embiid reclaim his throne?
Everything in Philadelphia starts and ends with The Process. Coming off a season where he finished just shy of his first career MVP award, it seems Embiid has faced some disrespect this off-season. With Denver Nuggets star center, Nikola Jokic coming away with the hardware, there appears to have been a changing of the guard. Heading into the 20-21 season, GMs voted on the best players at every position with Embiid and Jokic finishing in a dead lock 50-50 for the center position. With both players coming off equally impressive seasons that saw both parties produce career high averages some how GMs saw it fitting to increase the margin between the two .
Clearly when healthy Joel Embiid is the most dominant two way big in the business. Which personally to me is what puts him over the top, doing it on both ends of the floor. Durability has always been the question when it comes to Joel, over the course of his career he has only played in an average of 52 games a year.
But think about this Joel Embiid was able to put up massive numbers this past season partly due to a overhaul in personnel surrounding him but mostly because he entered camworking with the same supporting cast p in the best shape of his life. Yet some how, Embiid has expressed that he’s in even better shape now than then. With another year with the same supporting cast along with Embiid’s continued physics improvement it’s scary to think Embiid could possibly be even better than he already is.
‘I wonder if the short term vibes of a strong start could handcuff the long term moves that might end up raising your ceiling.’
The question that has clouded the entire process over the course of the past three seasons. While no one truly knows what the future has in store if history has taught us anything while the light at the end of the tunnel may be near, getting there may be easier said than done.
These are your 2021-22 Philadelphia 76ers ladies and gentlemen… let the games begin.