The Process is nearly complete in Philadelphia. But 2017-18 Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons knows what needs to happen next for the 76ers.
Coming off a 52-win seasons, the 76ers saw the postseason for the first time since 2011-12 — when a lockout-shortened season saw them finish 35-31. Not only that, Simmons himself put up 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals en route to RoY honors. However, Simmons, Joel Embiid and the 76ers would see their journey end at the hands of the Boston Celtics. The No. 4 seed out East got all the way to the Eastern Conference semi-final. Now it’s time to take that next step.
“We’ve got to get past Boston, those are the guys at the top right now. Beating them, that’s our next goal,” Simmons told NBA Australia’s James McKern.
If everyone can stay healthy, that’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility. If Markelle Fultz — who didn’t provide much in his rookie season — is fixed, then things get very interesting. Even if he’s not, though (he just might be!), the battle between these two sides should rage on for years to come. The Celtics are set up to be a dynasty. Keep in mind, they got to enjoy Gordon Hayward for all of five minutes last season. Kyrie Irving didn’t even suit up for the postseason. But these 76ers are special too, and there’s no denying that.
“Obviously getting further than the second round and winning the Eastern Conference finals and then moving on to the Finals (are the team’s other goals).”
There’s no reason to doubt them now. Tanking is over and done with. The top picks are producing, and can (scarily) get even better. Yes, Simmons and even Embiid can get better. Gosh, can you imagine?
The top half of the East is going to be fun in 2018.