With just 21 wins (11 more than last year) and an inconsistent — and often unhealthy product on the floor — it’s hard to really assess the Sixers’ progress on a day to day basis.
But with the team on the cusp of a nine-day break for the NBA All-Star weekend, what better time to take a look at who has impressed, and who has regressed the most on the up-and-coming 76ers:
Stock is rising
Dario Saric: The Sixers’ other Rookie of the Year candidate might actually have a valid argument for the award as Joel Embiid continues to sit with a knee injury. In the Sixers’ five games before the break, all without Embiid, Saric averaged 18.6 points per game and grabbed 11 rebounds in each of the last two. He’s been a spark plug for the team and plays with hustle and grit — a sure future fan favorite.
Joel Embiid: Which brings us to the ultimate fan favorite. Even having sat since Jan. 17, the gigantic rookie has not only taken the city, social media and the NBA by storm but he’s also posted incredible numbers in limited minutes. He’s scored 20.2 points per game whole getting nearly eight rebounds and more than two blocks per game in about 25 minutes per contest.
T.J. McConnell: The Sixers’ undrafted rookie has hit two game-winning jumpers and is the only player aside from Rajon Rondo to average more assists per game than points. But when he does score, the points are clutch. He seems to be a true NBA point guard — one that came out of nowhere and was actually the subject of trade buzz as the deadlinenears.
Stock is steady
Nerlens Noel: The Sixers’ defensive-mindedcenter was on the outs this offseason, questioning whether the team had a real plan for its bigs and sitting on the bench after a summer injury. But he’s played his way back into Philly’s future plans and appears to be the big man best suited to work alongside Embiid.
Robert Covington: Philly’slanky 3-point maven has become a defensive juggernaut under Brett Brown’s tutelage, showing he can guard the opposing team’s best player and contribute on both sides of the floor.
Sam Hinkie: The former GM who left in a blaze of 13-page glory seems to be back in Philly fans’ favor of late, as the Sixersappear to be slowly living up to the promise Hinkie made when he started a three-year tankathon.
Stock is falling
Jahlil Okafor: Poor Jah. He went from the Sixers’ center of the future and an offensive powerhouse to a middling prospect that no one wants. He was kept off the team plane to Orlando and Charlotte earlier this week before rejoining the team in Boston. A trade went from imminent to unlikely. What do the Sixers do now?
Bryan Colangelo: Hinkie’s replacement seems to be in over his head, avoiding or perhaps lying to the Philadelphia media and unable to figure out what to do with Jahlil Okafor and the Sixers’ other trade assets.
Ben Simmons: This is not a comment on Simmons’ talent and future as an NBA player. The contrary — it is an indictment on the Sixersas an organization. The first overall pick from last June appears healthy and on the mend from preseason foot surgery. But he has yet to even play in 5-on-5 drills. Is there something the 76ers aren’t sharing? Is he going to be shut down for the season?