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A Tale of Two Teams

On this date two years ago, the Philadelphia 76ers rolled onto the floor of the empty Wells Fargo Center with five players who are either: deep onto another team’s bench or out of the league as of today. The starting SF against the Washington Wizards was Hollis Thompson who played nine games with the Pelicans last season and is now out of the league. Jerami Grant started at PF who was a significant player for the Sixers who was valued heavily, but eventually was a part of a trade to get the Sixers; Ersan Ilyasova (for the first time) and a first round draft pick. As of now, Grant plays as a role player for the star-studded OKC Thunder. To wrap up the front-court, Nerlens Noel (remember him) started at center. As we all know, he was traded last season at the deadline for Andrew Bogut, who was waived right away, a first round pick, and Simba AKA Justin Anderson. Noel is averaging a meager 9 points while only playing 14 minutes per game. The backcourt consisted of Ish Smith who led the Sixers to 10 wins in the 2015-16 season, and Isaiah Canann. Enough said. In fact, the only player from this roster who’s still on the team is the scrappy sixth-man, TJ McConnell.

There was such uncertainty in the Philadelphia air two years ago. Not only with the Sixers, but with every other team. The Chip Kelly-era had just ended, the Phillies were slowly becoming the worst team in baseball, and the Flyers slithered into the playoffs just to lose to the league best, Washington Capitals. Misery was indeed, striking the hearts’s of Philadelphia faithfuls. Then there were the Sixers; who seemed to be right in the middle of a long road to recovery, until on June 23,2016, Adam Silver voiced the words, “With the first pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select, Ben Simmons, forward from LSU.” Although Simmons didn’t play his whole rookie, the Sixers found the light at of the tunnel when their 2014 3rd pick showed his superstar skills. This guys name is Joel Embiid. The Sixers may have only won 28 games, but that was quite the jump from 10. Last season for the Sixers built a bridge of hope into this current season. And that hope is being fulfilled. The Sixers are currently sixth in the East, and are three games back from the third spot. Simmons has produced a rookie season that is being compared to one of the best of all time, Joel Embiid is an unquestioned superstar, Dario Saric has game to him like Manu Ginobili, our role players are playing at levels above what they were expected, and our number one draft pick has not played the majority of the season. May I add that the Greatest of All Time is looking at schools in the Philadelphia region? The future is bright in the City of Brotherly Love.

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