Even in a year that featured a suspension of play for nearly five months due to a pandemic, a first-round sweep at the hands of the hated Celtics, and (gestures broadly at the world), Sixers fans still have plenty to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving holiday. We quickly talked through some of those things.
Sean Kennedy: First and foremost, the Sixers franchise has two young superstars. The importance of that fact cannot be overstated. Without stars in place, a team could be in a position where it’s handing a four-year, $120 million contract to a 30-year-old, broken-down Gordon Hayward in some desperate attempt to remain in the NBA zeitgeist. So I’m thankful for Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but also that the organization once again has a guy leading the front office determined to construct a roster around them with the goal of maximizing their effectiveness. No more forming a power forward/center Voltron in a misguided attempt to pummel the opposition into dust through sheer size and force of will. I’m very thankful for your arrival, Daryl Morey.
I’m also thankful for the smaller stuff. Joel getting back to his troll roots in welcoming Dan Burke to Philadelphia. Matisse being a precocious young documentarian and getting on Good Morning America. Furkan making it rain to turn a random February night into a memorable sports viewing experience. The collective joy from our live draft Zoom call at Tyrese Maxey falling to the Sixers at 21st overall, and the fact that so many of you out there seemed to enjoy us talking about prospect handsomeness and the Shams vs. Woj battle royale. Having to correct my dad that the Sixers traded for Seth, not Steph Curry, but don’t worry, we got the one with the higher career 3-point percentage.
I’m thankful for it all. The in-depth breakdowns and irreverent photoshops alike, and the self-deprecating doom posts that are nearly synonymous with Philadelphia sports fandom. In what has largely been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, rooting for this much-maligned, often excruciating basketball team was still a source of joy.
Tom West: I’m going to keep this simple: shooting. The Sixers finally have a group of players who can make those things called 3-pointers again, and it’s going to help make their offense look an awful lot smoother. The clunky, archaic, double-center starting lineup featuring Al Horford is a thing of the past. The Sixers have now added a career 40-percent 3-point shooter in Danny Green, and one of the league’s very best shooters in Seth Curry. Both players have quick enough triggers to punish defenses when they get space, they can both fire with confidence in transition to complement Ben Simmons when he pushes the pace, and Curry provides some much needed pull-up ability in addition to being an elite spot-up threat. Tyrese Maxey offers some shooting off the bounce as well, and Isaiah Joe is a terrific shooting prospect whenever he gets a chance to play (again with some skill to create space and fire off the dribble).
Seth Curry is an elite shooter, and he's shot 39.1% on pull-up 3s over his last four seasons.— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) November 22, 2020
His shooting off the bounce, in transition and in the half court, is one of the many ways he's going to help the Sixers. pic.twitter.com/8wfy4DEZZi
The Sixers are by no means completely fixed (for instance, they still don’t have a new high-level perimeter creator/closer). But their offense is going to be more spacious, far better tailored for Simmons and Embiid, and far more enjoyable to watch.