The NBA restart is just around the corner, with the 22 participating teams wrapping up their final preparations for the remainder of the season in Orlando. One side that will be looking forward to the restart is the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite struggling in most parts of the season, the 76ers managed to secure a playoff spot earlier before the suspension of the league due to COVID-19. Philadelphia 76ers are currently sixth on the Eastern Conference and third in the Atlantic Division with a 39-26 win-loss record and a .600 win percentage. Amongst the teams that have already qualified for the playoffs so far this season, Philadelphia 76ers are considered the biggest underdogs in the race for the NBA title this season despite their talented roster. However, the team still has the talent to beat some of the other favorites, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, and LA Clippers in any seven-game series.
With a few days left for the restart of the NBA season, we analyze some of the questions surrounding the 76ers team and their preparations for the remainder of the season.
Can Joel Embiid stay fit for the remainder of the season?
Center Joel Embiid has had an excellent season so far. He has once again enhanced his reputation as one of the most talented and dominant players in the NBA.
This season, Embiid has averaged 23.4 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game and 3.1 assists. He has also averaged 0.9 steals per game, 1.3 blocks per game, and 3.1 turnovers per game. Despite Embiid’s excellent performances, injuries have hampered his season, limiting him to just 44 appearances for the 76ers. Injuries have also seen Embiid miss some crucial matches in each of the past two postseasons.
For the 76ers, this would be a huge concern as a recurrence of another injury after the NBA restart could derail their plans for a potential fourth NBA title win this season. At the moment, the 76ers will have to ensure that their star man maintains his good health for a long time.
Can Shake Milton continue his impressive form?
Shooting Guard Shake Milton has enjoyed a decent campaign in his second NBA season after being drafted to the 76ers in the 2018 NBA draft. The 23-year old became a regular starter in the 76ers team after Point Guard Ben Simmons sustained an injury back in February. In all, Milton has made 32 appearances this season, starting 16 times.
He also started Philadelphia 76ers’ last eight games before the suspension of the NBA season due to COVID-19 in March. Milton’s standout performance for the 76ers came earlier this year as he recorded 39 points in 20 shots in Philadelphia 76ers’ 136-130 defeat to Los Angeles Clippers. He became the third player aside Houston Rockets’ star duo James Harden and Russell Westbrook to score 40 or more points against the Los Angeles Clippers this season. Milton has also converted 45% of his 106 attempts this season. If Milton continues to feature alongside some of the best players in the 76ers roster, he could become an integral player soon.
Will Ben Simmons excel in his new role?
In his time with the 76ers so far, Ben Simmons has thrived as a Point Guard and established himself alongside Joel Embiid as the two best players for the team. However, Simmons will find himself in an unfamiliar Power Forward role after the restart of the season.
Despite boasting the experienced Al Horford and Tobias Harris, who are familiar with the Power Forward position, the 76ers have opted to go with Ben Simmons in that position moving forward as they look to unlock his full potential. The new role might prove to be a big challenge for Ben Simmons, but with the ability and talent he possesses, he could become accustomed to it in a short time. Simmons’ new role as a Power Forward could also help him take his game to the next level.
In the 54 games he has played as a Point Guard this season, Simmons has already averaged 16.7 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game and 8.2 points per game. If he plays in the Power Forward after the restart, Ben Simmons could support Embiid and Tobias Harris with his speed, size, and strength.