Written and Media by Justin Willis.
The Philadelphia 76ers are on the right track to making history in the 2018 NBA playoffs. The Sixers are lead by Joel Embiid, all-star center, Ben Simmons, potential rookie of the year, and JJ Redick, a clear spot-up shooter. After defeating the Miami Heat in just five games (4-1), the Sixers are going to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012. This victory gives them a match-up of the winner between the Milwaukee Bucks or the current number-two seed with a record of 3-2 in the series, the Boston Celtics.
“Trust the process,” is a quote from Emiid that has been repeated constantly this whole year. Could it be that the process for the Sixers is almost completed? In past years, the organization has been known as a lottery team with injury-plagued seasons. But this year is a different story. They have turned their record from 10-72 (2015-2016) to 28-54 (2016-2017) to clinch the third seed this year in the Eastern Conference with the record of 52-30, ending the regular season hot on a 16-game winning streak.
On Tuesday, the Sixers sent the Heat home and out of the playoffs, winning with a score of 104-91. Additionally, the game was a big deal for Sixers fans due to the fact that hometown rapper Meek Mill made a surprise appearance just hours after being reported that he was free from jail. The Sixers easily fed off Mill’s energy throughout the game.
The Sixers have not only shown improvement this season, but they are proving that they have a chance to go deep in the playoffs this year. One of the main reasons why the season looks to be so promising is that they finally have a healthy roster and are adding some additional key players during the off-season, like Redick from the Los Angles Clippers, Rookie Markelle Fultz (1st round, 1 pick), as well as Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova, both off waivers from the Atlanta Hawks.
Philadelphia’s champion atmosphere has built momentum for their basketball team as well. The Philadelphia Eagles, an NFL team, defeated the New England Patriots with the score 41-33 in the 2018 Super Bowl that was held in Minnesota. In addition, the Villanova Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines with the score of 79-62 in the 2018 National NCAA Basketball Championship for the second time in the last three years.
I spoke with Greenville University junior, Mark Barigye, about his thoughts on the Sixers’ season and the chances of them winning the NBA Championship this year. Barigye stated, “I have the Sixers winning the Finals. They have Ben Simmons, the greatest athlete to ever step on the hardwood simply because he came out of LSU, plus Meek Mill just got released from prison. It’s a wrap for any team they face. Sixers in three.”
Despite the different opinions stated through the media, the Sixers truly believe and have the confidence to win it all this year.