Faces in New Places: Philadelphia 76ers Edition
The 2018-2019 season ended in heartbreak for the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers pushed the Toronto Raptors, the eventual champs, all the way to the brink of game 7 before Kwahi Leonard’s miracle. But there is serious optimism surrounding the team to start this year. In fact, many around the league consider the Sixers to be one of the favorites, along with the Milauwakee Bucks, to win the eastern conference. Let’s take a look at the Philadelphia 76ers key additions for this year and how these players will contribute alongside stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
New 76ers – Al Horford, Forward
Al Horford is a veteran forward who brings many positive intangibles to the table for this team. You won’t find him demanding the ball, complaining about the offense, or taking possessions off on the defensive end. He embodies the definition of a team player and is willing to do the little things to put his teammates in optimal positions for overall success. He also brings a degree of playoff experience to this team that is still quite young at its core.
Perhaps Horford’s most important contribution will be his size and ability to anchor the frontcourt defense while Embiid is off the floor. Interior defense without Embiid has proven to be an issue for the Sixers in the past and this happens to be one of Horford’s specialties. In a league where many teams seem to be trending towards small-ball the Sixers are zagging. They are huge with four starters projecting to be 6 foot 7 or taller. Look for Horford’s complete presence to both improve the Sixers defense and team chemistry this season.
New 76ers – Josh Richardson, Guard
Richardson came from the Miami Heat in the deal that saw Jimmy Butler leave town. He will be the replacement at guard taking up crucial minutes vacated by both Butler and JJ Redick. This a player on the rise who broke out last year as a true two-way threat. He won’t be tasked with the offensive load he had last year. Instead his primary focus will be lockdown perimeter defense.
Richardson will join a loaded starting lineup and the Sixers hope he continues to take strides in his first year with the team. He should be subject to an increased quantity of open looks while teams focus their defensive efforts elsewhere so it is vital that he hits those shots to keep opposing teams honest.
How It All Starts
The projected starting lineup for the Sixers this year is downright scary. The additions of Al Horford at forward and Josh Richardson at guard will play next to returning starters Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and The Process himself Joel Embiid. Bench depth still needs to be figured out for this team to tap into its true potential. Luckily, they have the entire regular season to figure that out. The Philadelphia 76ers will begin their season this Wednesday with an important matchup against their division rivals, the Boston Celtics.