Happy Thanksgiving, Liberty Ballers readers! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday spent with friends and family. While there are plenty of real life things to give thanks for as we gather around the dinner table, this is the forum to give thanks for things in the world of the Philadelphia 76ers. A handful of us at the site expressed our Sixers gratitude below, and feel free to chime in with what you’re thankful for in the comments.
Sean Kennedy: I’m thankful that Joel Embiid is expected back on Saturday. As much fun as Tyrese Maxey’s rising stardom has been to behold, Sixers basketball doesn’t feel the same without the big man in the middle. His absence due to COVID was a depressing collaboration between real world and Sixers problems. Without Embiid, the past couple weeks have felt like we were just treading water until the season could resume. He is the rare superstar talented enough to finish second in the MVP voting, fun-loving enough to dress up as the Phantom of the Process or do a wrestling-style intro with Triple H, and veracious enough to say he’s “not here to babysit”. We’ll all be even more thankful if Joel has no lingering effects from the illness and he and Maxey 2.0 can form the most dominant tag team in the Eastern Conference.
Paul Hudrick: I’m thankful for good drafts. Outside of the Mikal Bridges debacle — I mean they drafted the right player, they just didn’t keep him! — the Sixers have come away with tremendous value in recent drafts. It’s so wonderful to see after high picks were wasted on such players as Jahlil Okafor and Markelle Fultz. Now, players selected outside the lottery like Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle are presently contributing and set the team up well for years to come. Second-rounders like Isaiah Joe, Paul Reed and Charles Bassey are just gravy. (See what I did there? I’ll show myself out.)
David Early: This holiday season, I’m once again grateful for the spoils of basketball riches that Sam Hinkie left this franchise and that the few remaining gems are in maybe the best front office’s hands. This team was willing to get extremely uncomfortable once upon a time. It appears management and the front office is getting back to those roots.
Uncommon intestinal fortitude in the face of intense public scrutiny has led to most of the great things they have or have had over the last decade or so. It appears they believe this is the right path once again. I’m grateful the Sixers seem to be thinking championship-or-bust in all of their maneuvering.
Jackson Frank: I’m thankful for Georges Niang’s unorthodox and effective drives. Somehow, he’s shooting 76 percent at the rim this season, despite never jumping more than eight inches off the ground. Every time he burrows his way to the paint off the catch and flips up some ridiculous hook shot, leaner or runner that falls through, a little smile glazes over my face. Obviously, the quick trigger and effective outside shooting are the headlining portions of his impact thus far, but the YMCA-style drive-and-scores have been delightful and one joyful aspect of the Sixers’ bench-turned-starters mob.
Tariq Karibian: I’m most thankful for the health, well-being, and happiness of my family. Despite many challenges and difficulties that we’ve had to overcome throughout the year, it is a blessing that we get to sit together at the dinner table tonight and enjoy a delicious meal.
I’m definitely thankful for Tyrese Maxey’s floater and pull-up jumper. PG1 has been balling this season, so I’m thankful that he’s been holding it down during the long road trip.
Have a wonderful holiday!