The Official Philadelphia 76ers 2020-21 Season Preview
As a Sixers fan, to say last season was disappointing would be a grave understatement. It’s hard to imagine that just one season ago, the Sixers just completed a trade to send Jimmy Butler to Miami, in a deal that included Josh Richardson coming to Philadelphia. Then, they signed Al Horford in free agency from the Boston Celtics and signed Tobias Harris to a max contract. Head coach Brett Brown promised the city of Philadelphia a team that was built for the playoffs and hoped to erase the nightmare situation that happened in Toronto during Game 7.
Reality soon set in that these promises were far fetched. We were left with a team that lacked shooting and playmaking up and down the roster. Josh Richardson was deemed a “shot-creator” and Tobias Harris couldn’t find an open lane to attack to save his life. Al Horford simply never fit and left the Sixers and fans alike wondering why a veteran center playing the four next to Joel Embiid ever made sense in the first place. Hindsight is always 20/20.
Final Results 2019-20
Overall Record: 43-30
Eastern Conference Standings: 6th
Playoffs: Lost 4-0 to Boston Celtics in first round
Offensive Efficiency: 111.3 (11th)
Defensive Efficiency: 109.0 (8th)
What we learned
The Sixers surprisingly finished near the Lakers offensively on paper but on the court you would have never known that. Ben Simmons still wasn’t shooting, there were no perimeter shooters to keep defenses from clogging the paint around Joel Embiid, and there weren’t any shot creators that could step up when a Ben Simmons injury ultimately ended the season before the playoffs even started in the Disney World Bubble.
The Boston Celtics buried the Sixers in embarrassing fashion. It was a disastrous ending to a rollercoaster of a season. Just when you thought this team was built so poorly and stuck in purgatory for the next five years, everything changed. The Philadelphia 76ers underwent a complete franchise overhaul from top to bottom.
- Brett Brown was fired.
- Doc Rivers was hired.
- Al Horford, the 34th pick, and a 2025 future 1st round pick were traded for Danny Green, Vincent Poirier, and Terrance Ferguson
- Josh Richardson and the 36th pick were traded for SG Seth Curry.
- Zhaire Smith was traded to Detroit for Tony Bradley
- The Sixers drafted Tyrese Maxey, Isiah Joe, and Paul Reed
- Dwight Howard was signed in free agency
- Dakota Mathias was signed to a two-way
- The Sixers departed ways with Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson, and Kyle O’Quinn.
Number 10 on the list above would be the hiring of Daryl Morey as the new VP of Basketball Operations. Just like that, the Philadelphia 76ers emerged from purgatory heading north, surprising everyone who thought this team was doomed just four months prior. Not even a bad City Edition jersey could stop the Sixers from emerging as one of the most intriguing teams in the NBA entering the 2020 season.
The Sixers have finalized their roster before the NBA season officially starts on December 22nd. Over the past two preseason games, we were given a glimpse at our new starting five, rotation, and bench players. There’s a ton to be excited about.
PG Ben Simmons
SG Seth Curry
SG Danny Green
PF Tobias Harris
C Joel Embiid
PG Shake Milton
SG Furkan Korkmaz
SF Matisse Thybulle
PF Mike Scott
C Dwight Howard
PG Tyrese Maxey
SG Isiah Joe
SF Terrance Ferguson
C Vincent Poirier
C Tony Bradley
Doc Rivers is now in charge of putting the puzzle pieces together. Number one on the list will be to build on-court chemistry between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and force them to play more “two-man” games. On top of that, Doc needs to keep the ball in Ben Simmons’ hands as much as possible and allow to him to facilitate the basketball to perimeter shooters or attack an open lane and work with Joel Embiid in the paint.
The ceiling is high for Ben Simmons (24) and Joel Embiid (26) entering this season and there’s no reason why the Sixers shouldn’t be in consideration for a deep playoff run and a top 3-4 seed in the Eastern Conference. Just having a healthy and in-shape team will take the Sixers further than the last few years.
Perimeter shooting was desperately needed and the Sixers addressed it heavily during the offseason with Seth Curry, Danny Green, and draft pick Isiah Joe. If Shake Milton can provide the 76ers that offensive spark off the bench, he will certainly be in the running for 6th man of the year award. Exciting young players like Matisse Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey will be interesting to watch develop throughout the season and look to contribute to an already strong rotation with Dwight Howard and Shake Milton.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Sixers are looking to live up to the hype this year after failing to do so in their 2019-20 campaign. With players like Simmons, Embiid, Thybulle, and Green, there’s absolutely no reason that the 76ers defense shouldn’t be in the top three category at the end of the season.
The success of the 2020-21 season, as we all know, comes down to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The difference this year, is that they have a real basketball team around them that will give them every opportunity to succeed.
Embiid dominating the paint, strong perimeter shooting, and an aggressive, fast-paced Ben Simmons led offense will make the 76ers one of the most fascinating teams to watch in the NBA this season. The East is going to be tough to win but there’s absolutely no reason to think that the Sixers won’t be in contention come playoffs.
Prediction: 51-21, 3rd Place in the Eastern Conference.
Awards: Ben Simmons DPOY. Shake Milton 6th Man of the Year.
Playoffs: The Philadelphia 76ers will make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Mandatory Credit: The Philadelphia 76ers via Twitter