Philadelphia 76ers 2018-2019 Season Predictions
The 76ers have proven that they are ready to compete with the greats, surprising fans and commentators alike with their record setting plays in the 2017-2018 season. Last year, the Sixers surprised many by ending the season as one of the top teams in the NBA. They closed out with a 16-game winning streak and made it to the Conference Semifinals. But it’s important to remember that success isn’t always a strictly upward trajectory. There are a lot of fans counting on the Sixers to outperform themselves, but is that setting reasonable expectations? Here are our predictions for this upcoming season.
The Sixers Won’t Beat Their 2017-2018 Wins
We’re looking forward to more consistency in play rather than all wins this season. Last year’s playing momentum looked more like a bell curve than anything else, with the peak being later in the regular season, but they took a while to get going. This year, we expect to see the wins spread more evenly across the season, but not necessarily more of them. The team knows they can get to the playoffs, and although a winning streak later in the season is a more dramatic way to make their numbers pick up, the team will use their experience from last year to jump start the wins earlier this season.
But, They Will Get to The Playoffs
Previous playoff experience is essential to getting there again, and we’re confident that the Sixers will make the Conference finals again this year. The Sixers are now known for having a fairly green roster, especially the trio of center Joel Embiid, swingman Ben Simmons, and forward Dario Saric.
Brett Brown, who is currently operating as both the team’s General Manager and head coach, after former GM Bryan Colangelo resigned amidst scandal earlier this year, is using every tactic possible to get the players practicing and playing at their best. (Even if it means holding overnight practices while the team gets over jetlag.) While the team’s management is looking for a new GM, Brown is applying his key principles of playing with passion and making sure the team wins while playing at home.
Overall, the Sixers will need to perform better not just in wins or individual players’ scoring averages, but in consistency. They faltered after facing their Boston Celtics rivals in the semifinals. In order to not make the same mistake, they will need to both maintain face and prepare themselves to work around tactics they may not be expecting instead of getting stumped.
What About Winning the Title?
Blind faith won’t get the team anywhere, and they know it. Philly fans are amped up to hear commentators say that the Sixers are a sure thing. But with such a tight race and not having a true pattern of dominating, the Sixers taking it further in the playoffs than they did last year will be the product of unpredictability. Despite significant developments in the last year, the team still needs to work on solidifying the players’ abilities to work more cohesively before we can say that they will win against the Celtics or the Toronto Raptors, both of which are favorites to win this year.
The Sixers have a fighting chance of bringing home the gold if they are able to take their performance from late last season and apply that to this entire season. It is essential for the momentum to get going as early as possible, and not experience as many fumbles and missed opportunities.
Ben Simmons Makes All-NBA Team
Ben Simmonswas close last season but fell just short of making it to an All-NBA team. But that may change this year, as Simmons has made it clear that making the cut is one of his career goals. However, the dream becoming reality will only be possible if Simmons establishes himself as more of a leading scorer. The awards voters consist of sportswriters and other analysts throughout the US and Canada, so it’s essential for Simmons to show more aggression and versatility to actually make the cut and be selected for one of only a handful of open spots.
Joel Embiid Will Increase His Point Average
Fans and experts alike were wowed by Joel Embiid’s average last season, 22.9 points per game. Embiid definitely wasn’t slacking during the offseason, and after a needing a few test runs, is performing even better than last year. He scored 32 points against the Orlando Magic, and the Sixers led offensively by more than 30 points for the first time since 2006. The conclusion to that game was pretty dramatic, with the Sixers winning 116-115. It’s looking even more likely that Embiid will see an average of 25 points scored per game.
Like teammate Simmons, Embiid has his eye on a legacy-confirming award this season as well. Embiid is looking to be a league MVP, meaning that he needs to be a top-two seed in the Eastern conference. Embiid discussed wanting to make MVP this year during several offseason interviews; could getting in shape for that explain his extraordinary preparedness at the start of the season? Even resting for a few games could result in him losing the points he needs to make MVP, so Embiid is very possibly looking at a very active and long season on the court.
Markelle Fultz Is the Wild Card This Season
Second-year guard Markelle Fultzis experiencing Philly fan impatience to the worst degree. After starting out as a player with a reputation for hesitating and losing opportunities to score, Fultz is under intense pressure to match Simmons’ talent so that he can sub in and Simmons can strengthen the team elsewhere. Fultz’s recent performance suggests improvement and more daring moves, but the pressure on each and every one of his shots (and, well, all his moves) can make or break such a young player. But Philly also loves an underdog, and Fultz said that proving himself to the fans and wanting to play well for them is what drives him. Fultz is capable of rising to the occasion, but can he maintain his plays for the season? Only time will tell.
And don ‘t forget to check out our Memorabiliacollections for autographed pictures and collectables of these and many past 76er players.