Wednesday night, the Sixers rounded out their 2018-19 campaign with a win over the still-existent Chicago Bulls to make their final season record 51-31. The season consisted of 82 games, but this one felt really, really long. Do you remember Wilson Chandler? Me neither. This season began with a Hail Mary by head coach Brett Brown to inject some confidence into embattled guard Markelle Fultz by starting him, and went on to consist of two major trades for star players. Before the playoffs start on Saturday, I thought it would be nice to hand out some Sixers-specific hardware. The awards were voted on by the Liberty Ballers staff. No collusion!
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
Most Valuable Sixer
Joel won this award unanimously, and it’s not hard to figure out why. He averaged nearly 28 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks this season. He started his second consecutive All-Star game, and the Sixers’ numbers with the big man on the bench are putrid, while they are legitimate contenders when he plays. He deserves to be in the top-5 for league MVP voting, as well.
Most Likable Sixer
Two wins in a row! Big day for Embiid. With an honorable mention to Tobias Harris, Embiid got enough votes here not only because of his next-level play, but because of how wholly he has embraced Sixers fans since he’s been here, and how hard he plays every single game. He’s charming and funny and a villain to opponents. What’s not to like?
Best Celebrator on the Sixers
Amir was glued to the pine for much of the season, but never seemed to let it affect him as a teammate. Amir is always dapping up his guys before games and going into timeouts. This was a competitive category, with Amir edging out celebrators like T.J. McConnell, Shake Milton, and Alan Horowitz. As LB writer Adam Aaronson pointed out, Shake needed to be coerced into riling up the crowd for the Frosty Freeze-Out by T.J., so we had to ding him there.
TJ has a part in this...don’t let anyone tell you different. pic.twitter.com/KGsEFfJQHl— Emily Anderson (@third_and_girl) December 11, 2018
Best 2018-19 Sixers Win
3/20 vs. Boston
This game was excellent and drastically improved my mood and personal relationships! It was a hard-fought battle between the Sixers’ full-strength starting 5 and the visiting Celtics, culminating with a Jimmy Butler dagger that had the Wells Fargo Center rocking. Also receiving votes for this award were the Sixers’ wins on 3/17 @ Milwaukee and 1/31 @ Golden State.
Best Midseason Addition
The Jimmy Butler conversation is a complicated one. First, we had to trade beloved Process cornerstones Robert Covington and Dario Saric to acquire him. Then, there are the issues with his at-times combative personality. Then, there’s the attendant hand-wringing about his impending free agency. All of those are fair. But our panel felt that Butler’s half-court creation skills and ISO capabilities in the fourth quarter made him an essential add for this Sixers team that sorely needed both. It remains to be seen what will become of Butler’s tenure in Philadelphia, and it all hinges on this playoff run. If Butler ramps up his defensive effort and intensity and continues to shine within the offense, the Sixers will likely be willing to pay him what’s necessary to keep him. If not, they could let him walk. But he’s the winner in this category. Shout out to Brian Murphy for voting for Kendall Jenner.
Most Fashionable Sixer
He wears hockey jerseys to every game and has never been to a hockey game. Folks, this one was pretty easy. Scott has also been implementing the ninja headband in games, which raises his fashion stock tenfold. Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler also received some votes here, but neither of them have ever worn a hockey jersey to a basketball game.
Sixers Sixth Man of the Year
This was a tough category. The much-maligned Sixers bench has left a lot to be desired this season, but Scott acquitted himself quite nicely since being acquired by the Sixers along with Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic at the trade deadline. With the Sixers, Scott has averaged 8 points and 4 rebounds, while shooting 41 percent from 3 and being decently switchable on defense. Boban and T.J. were the other Sixers to receive votes.
Sixer Most Likely to Have an Unexpected Huge Game in the Playoffs
Three in a row for the Threegional Manager! Scott won this one in a landslide, and it makes sense. He’s already had some big, high-leverage performances this season with the Sixers against Milwaukee and Golden State earlier in the year. When he goes oh-for-the playoffs, you’ll know who to blame.
Sixer Most Likely to be Married by Next Season
In the video above, around the 1:00 mark, you’ll see our very own Joel Embiid serenading his girlfriend, model Anne De Paula at All-Star weekend, with Ed Sheeran’s Perfect playing in the background. He’s sprung. They now have a dog, who they of course named after dearly departed Sixers GM Sam Hinkie. This was a close race between Joel and Ben Simmons, who is also in a high-profile relationship of his own with Kendall Jenner. They both seem happy and I’m rooting for personal success for those two as much as I am for the Sixers. The LB staff just seems to think Joel and Anne are on a faster track to the altar.
Sixers Best Social Media Presence
Can you believe that was this season? Embiid has largely scaled back his social media trolling, but he’s still the best in the game when he laces ‘em up. Those to also receive votes in this category were Ben Simmons for his gameday angry-face emojis, and Klaus Hinkie De Paula Embiid (Joel’s dog), who now has an Instagram account. JJ Redick sadly was not nominated.
That’s it! Big thank you to the LB staff for participating in these awards. It’s playoff time, friends. Let’s go. Trust the Process.