In an attempt to get myself and others hyped about the 2016–17 NBA season, I brainstormed several different preview ideas. Many outlets are doing team previews, but this is a player’s game, damnit. Why not take my favorite and/or most interesting player from each team and write a l’il somethin’ somethin’? I decided to write them in order of my projected finish for that team.
Philadelphia 76ers’ fans should be rejoicing right now. The last time they appeared this late in any kind of power ranking, Allen Iverson was talking about practice. Ben Simmons’ arrival is a big reason for their jump from 30 to 28.
My Fave Video
My former teammate and colleague Colin Donohue always used to tell me, “You can’t take much away from Summer League.”
I beg to differ. Relatively recent examples:
- Stephen Curry showed an ability to get his shot off under duress.
- To a lesser degree, copy-paste Seth Curry (AKA the Dallas Mavericks’ starting point guard by February).
- Jeremy Lin displayed a knack for penetrating and orchestrating the PnR.
- Damian Lillard proved that his dominance against subpar competition could translate into the NBA.
After watching Simmons play at LSU and in Summer League, I’ve learned that he’s going to be a PROBLEM for the next 15–20 years. He’s 20-years old, and he’s already an elite shot-creator for himself and others. Because he handles the ball so well, he’s going to create all sorts of mismatches for opposing teams. If the Sixers can flip Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel for a quality piece, forget being good years from now: it’s not a stretch to say that Philly could be a seven or eight seed within a year, especially if Dario Saricand Joel Embiid are worthy of their hype.
I can’t rank them any higher than 28 right now, just because I can’t fully buy into the Legend of Embiid, and I don’t know how good Saric is. Plus, their guard rotation is a dumpster fire at a horse farm.
The one thing I do know if that Simmons will eventually play in the postseason. Probably not this year, but sooner than you think.