The Philadelphia 76ers haven’t made the playoffs since 2012 and have lost 50+ games in four straight seasons. In fact, they lost 63+ games in three of those seasons.
And yet, there is hope. The 76ers went from 10 wins in 2015-16 to 28 in 2016-17 largely because of Joel Embiid, who averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game this season.
“I think we’ve come a long way in just a year, year-and-a-half,” 76ers advisor Jerry Colangelo said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Things are pretty stable. There’s a game plan. A lot of it depends on health obviously in sports, and so, sometimes your best plans don’t quite work out the way you wish. But having said that, we saw enough in Embiid last year to know that he’s a very special guy – and a healthy Embiid makes all the difference in the world.”
Embiid, 23, was the third overall pick in 2014 but didn’t play in each of his first two NBA seasons due to foot injuries. He showed flashes of brilliance this year but was limited to 31 games due to a torn meniscus.
If Embiid and Ben Simmons (foot) can stay healthy, the 76ers have a lot to be excited about.
“We’re expecting (Simmons) to be the player he was drafted to be – the No. 1 pick last year in the draft,” Colangelo said. “I think we’re positioned pretty well. There’s a pretty good depth chart, and everyone is very optimistic going into the draft and getting ready for next season.”
The 76ers have the third overall pick in this year’s draft and hope to add a shooter. Philadelphia made 10.1 threes per game this season, which ranked tenth in the league, but shot just .340 from three, which ranked 24th.
“You never have too many shooters,” Colangelo said. “Most teams in the league, they’re looking for shooting. (With) the way the game is being played and the court is spread, you need people who are catch-and-shoot people. That’s one of the things we need to address.”