After years of rebuilding, the Philadelphia 76ers showed the NBA that The Process could end up being worth it after all. Cornerstone players such as Joel Embiid and Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons showed why they were worth the wait after each player missed previous seasons due to injuries. After a three-year stretch of winning 58 total games, the Sixers would go on to finish 52-30 in the 2017-18 season, which was good enough for the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Philadelphia would go on to beat the Miami Heat 4-1 in the first round, giving the franchise its first playoff series victory since the 2011-12 season. However, like in that 2011-12 season, the Sixers suffered the same fate as they lost their 2nd round series to the Boston Celtics 4-1.
While the Sixers gained a ton of playoff experience in the franchises first playoff run in six seasons, they also were exposed by the Celtics in different areas on the floor such as lack of shot creating and wing defenders. Marco Belinelli, Ersan Ilyasova, and even JJ Redick struggled in the series on both sides of the ball due to their one-dimensional skill sets.
The series showed that the Sixers needed to improve their depth on the wing, and also try to acquire more versatile players in the offseason to try to close the gap on their division rivals. Going into the summer, many Sixers fans believed that the franchise would come away with a star quality player, such as LeBron James, Paul George, or Kawhi Leonard. Even the team’s Head Coach, Brett Brown, told the media at the end of the season that the franchise will be “star hunting”.
LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Paul George stayed in Oklahoma City. Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors.
Many fans are upset at the fact that the franchise struck out on landing a star via free agency and/or trade up until this post, however, the team did not stand pat and do nothing in the offseason.
Here is a look at the moves the team made this summer:
- Marco Belinelli (signed with San Antonio)
- Ersan Ilyasova (signed with Milwaukee)
- Justin Anderson (traded to Atlanta)
- Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot (traded to Oklahoma City)
- Richaun Holmes (traded to Phoenix)
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