Dennis Green made famous the following saying, “They are who we thought they were.” Sure it is not the most grammatically correct saying but the point of this quote during his infamous rant years ago was the fact his opponent, the Chicago Bears, were what expectations perceived. That sure holds true when talking about this year’s Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers entered this season on the cusp of greatness but as most experts would agree they were a year or two away from a championship caliber team. As the standings currently show the 76ers hover around .500 and they have done so basically all year. Besides for a few games here and there, the 76ers have shown that they are talented but too young to compete with the likes of the Cavaliers or Celtics for Eastern Conference supremacy.
So the 76ers organization has a tough decision looming. With millions of dollars in salary cap money available this upcoming free agency period what exactly should they do at this year’s trade deadline? They have clearly shown that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are not only the future of this franchise but they might be the future of the entire NBA. If they are able to stay healthy those two have bright futures in this league. However, both players still need some seasoning and years below their belt in order to compete with Lebron in Cleveland and Kyrie in Boston. The talent is there just but the experience is not.
Factor in the possibility of gaining rookie Markelle Fultz into the lineup soon and this team will be a force to reckon with down the stretch. Reports have surfaced that he is now practicing 5 on 5 drills and is close to making his league debut. Videos have even shown him shooting at a normal pace. When he makes his transition into the rotation, his presence will only make this team stronger. Fultz’s talent level was off the charts at the college level which was the precise reason the 76ers drafted him number one overall.
As this team prepares for his arrival should the front office approach other teams before the trade deadline. Bryan Colangelo would be smart to turn his phone off in the weeks leading up to the deadline and he should remain silent when approached about making a trade. Sure this team has talent but adding in a player or two will not be enough to put this team over the top. This team has taken the correct steps of rebuilding and adding in a veteran player might not best for the young team’s chemistry. This team seems destined for a playoff berth and even a victory or two in the first round will be sufficient for this fan base to be satisfied. Those steps would be enough and there is no reason to risk the future of this franchise in order to maybe gain a higher seed in the post season. That would be a dumb move for the future and something that might ultimately derail the futures of Embiid, Simmons and Fultz.
This team was not expected to win the Championship this year and that is fine for the 2017-2018 season. Expectations for this team should get higher entering next year and this front office should wait until free agency to begin in order to add a veteran player to the mix. If they do this team might be even more successful and the future of this organization will be even brighter then it currently is. Soon the term, “They are who we thought they were.” might be a good thing when describing the 76ers and their future.
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