We are The Process Disciples, welcome to our dojo where we study the art of “Sam Hinkie Specials” and trust every process in life. This is the subgroup of Sixers faithful in Basketball Society where we answer questions about all of the happenings in Philadelphia. 2018 is upon us, so it’s time to come up with new year resolutions.
Meet the team:
1. The Sixers are 17-19 at the turn of the year, is this better, worse, or right where you expected them to be?
Anderson: Right where I expected them to be for sure. For a team without their No. 1 draft pick, Markelle Fultz, they are playing up to their potential. Led by top Rookie Of the Year candidate Ben Simmons, and a dominant two-way center in Joel Embiid, I believe they will improve their record to above .500 by the end of the season. With Fultz’s return right around the corner, the Sixers are heading in the right direction.
Allan: This is worse than where I expected the Sixers to be at this point in the season. Now, with everyone up in arms with how poorly Philadelphia has closed out games unsuccessfully time and time again, they really aren’t in that bad of a position. All of our expectations were with a healthy Fultz and he has only seen the floor a few times this season. I think Sixers could easily be significantly above .500 but their youth shows at the end of games.
Calpin: Honestly, it’s a little worse than I was expecting them to be at this point. It would have been foolish to expect them to have it all figured out knowing Embiid still sits 20% of games, and without him and Fultz they lack an offensive playmaker other than Simmons. Plus they are really young so blowing leads is expected at times. Having said that, I thought their play against sub .500 teams would be a little stronger and the play down the stretch, even if not winning, would be more convincing. At the end of the day, the record is about where I thought it’d be.
2. Markelle Fultz is in his “last stage” of recovery, what do you expect from him here on out?
Anderson: I expect Markelle Fultz to play to his highest potential, but without putting a lot of pressure on his freshly recovered shoulder all at once. Fultz hasn’t played his best yet as a Sixer, which isn’t saying much considering he’s only played four games so far this season. This is why I’m excited about his return. I have high expectations for Fultz being aggressive and averaging around eight points, two rebounds, and two assists per game.
Allan: With us not truly knowing the extent of his minute’s restriction once he is cleared to play, I just want to see confidence. This team has lacked that as of late with the way they’ve been finishing games. As far as a role, I want to see him be a dual scoring threat. I think he could really be a player that learns to make the mid-range jump shot his strong suit.
Calpin: I am expecting Fultz to give the Sixers fresh legs off the bench and hopefully at times instant offense. This all happening while continuing to grow and learn the NBA game. Oh, and hopefully a respectable free throw form.
3. What’s more likely to happen in 2018, Ben Simmons makes a three or JJ Redick does NOT turn the ball over in the fourth quarter?
Anderson: JJ Redick will not turn the ball over in the fourth quarter before Simmons makes a three. We all know Redick tends to turn the ball over specifically in the fourth quarter, but Simmons’ three-point shot most likely won’t fall before Redick’s luck of turning the ball over in the fourth ends in 2018. If Simmons wants to improve his three-point game, he has to consistently practice his range during workouts.
Allan: I would say Redick not turning the ball over in fourth. Now that’s harder than some would think. He really has struggled to take care of the ball in crunch time. It’s very surprising for a player of his caliber, but at the same time, he has been asked to do so much more than in the past. When it comes to Simmons shooting a three, I think we’ll have to wait a little bit to see that. Let’s get past the foul line first.
Calpin: Redick for sure. That is the harder task especially in today’s NBA, where you have the Marc Gasol’s of the world averaging almost two three-pointers a game. But me picking Redick is due to Simmons’ lack of confidence in taking a three-pointer as opposed to him actually making one.
4. What is your New Year Resolution for the Sixers?
Anderson: My New Year Resolution for the Sixers is to sneak their way into the playoffs and make a name for themselves in the East. I believe they can do that from what they have shown us thus far in the season. With the high productivity from Simmons, Embiid, and Robert Covington, I don’t see why they couldn’t make it into the postseason. If they can improve from now until the end of the regular season to possibly make it in the top-five seeds in the Eastern Conference, my resolution will be complete.
Allan: My New Year’s Resolution for the Sixers is for them to close out games! It has been frustrating watching them lose big leads to both good and bad teams as of late, but once again, they’re young. Winning games in crunch time takes experience.
Calpin: My New Year’s resolution for the Philadelphia 76ers is for them to grow as a unit, learn how to close out games (!!) and make the playoffs. Simmons getting more aggressive and Fultz playing above expectations would be nice throw-in’s as well. Let’s bring April excitement to Philadelphia this year!