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Sacks in 3 seasons for 2014 1st-round pick Marcus Smith, cut by Eagles on Wednesday

With Villanova, Temple, La Salle and Saint Joseph’s involved in four Big Five games this upcoming week, we take a look at the City Six teams thus far and assess how well they’ll do the rest of the season. Villanova and La Salle are off to good starts, Temple looks better than last season, Saint joseph’s is walking a thin line between victory and defeat, and Drexel and Penn are struggling to get into the win column.

Nobody can predict exactly what will happen during the Eagles’ season. But, with tongue firmly in cheek, we take our best shot.

The first half of the NFL season featured pleasant surprises, disappointments and teams that performed as expected. Eric Fisher places every NFL team in one of the three categories and projects each team’s fortunes during the second half of the season.

Archive for the ‘76ers’ Category

Unlucky in Vegas: Fultz injures ankle

Posted by Eric Fisher On July - 9 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

The 76ers hope that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

More specifically, they hope that Markelle Fultz’s ankle injury is a short-term problem that can be left behind once the Sixers finish up their Las Vegas Summer League schedule.

That appears to be the case. X-rays of Fultz’s ankle were negative. The Sixers announced Sunday that Fultz will miss the rest of the summer league, but he is expected to be able resume basketball activities within 1-2 weeks.

Fultz, the first overall pick in the NBA Draft, was injured during the third quarter of Saturday’s 95-93 victory over the Warriors. He stepped on the foot of the Warriors’ Jabari Brown while trying to block his shot. Fultz avoid putting pressure on his left foot as he was helped off the court by teammates. He did not return to the game, and it is highly unlikely that he will play Sunday night against the Spurs.

Fultz’s injury dredges up bad memories for Sixers fans. Ben Simmons, the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, suffered a foot injury during training camp last season and did not play the entire season. Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel also missed their rookie seasons due to injuries, although those injuries were not sustained during summer league or training camp.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot sustained a cut on his lip on the same play on which Fultz was injured. Luwawu-Cabarrot received stitches to close the cut, and he did not return to the game.

Fans need to be patient

Posted by Eric Fisher On June - 24 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Fisher column logo2The 76ers should be a fun team to watch next season. They should be entertaining. And they almost certainly will be better.

But that doesn’t mean they will be good.

Sixers fans are ecstatic over the trade that allowed the Sixers to select Washington guard Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. And they should be.

Fultz is a versatile and talented player who seems to provide the Sixers with exactly what they needed. He can shoot from the outside and handle the ball.

Even before the Sixers selected Fultz on Thursday, the enthusiasm for the trade with the Celtics caused a spike in season ticket sales. The Sixers have surpassed 14,000 season tickets for next season, and there is talk of the possibility of selling out every home game.

The Sixers are selling promise, and the fans are buying it.

But there needs to be a dose of realism mixed in with all that enthusiasm.

Fultz just turned 19 in May. He is not the savior – at least not yet.

Center Joel Embiid has played 31 games in three NBA seasons. The Sixers almost certainly have to re-sign him for big money before his rookie deal runs out this season – the notion of letting him go and seeing him become a huge star for another team is unfathomable – but there remain major questions about Embiid’s health.

We also haven’t seen Ben Simmons, the top overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft, play a regular-season game yet. It’s fair to expect Simmons to need some time to adjust to the NBA game.

To sum up the last few paragraphs, the three players the Sixers are relying upon to be the foundation of their franchise enter next season with 31 games of NBA experience. Two of the three have injury concerns and may have minutes restrictions for the upcoming season.

That’s the reality. We still might not see Embiid play games on consecutive nights. We may not see Simmons or Embiid play more than 20 minutes during the first portion of the season. We simply do not know.

What we do know is the Sixers should be a better team. Adding Simmons and Fultz to the mix, regardless of how young an inexperienced they are, should be an upgrade over last season. If Dario Saric and backup center Richaun Holmes continue to develop, that also represents improvement.

But there are still questions about how the pieces fit together. That’s head coach Brett Brown’s job. He needs time to experiment with different combinations to find the best lineups and rotation.

There remains the question about what to do with forward Jahlil Okafor. Two years ago he was supposed to be one of the building blocks for the future. Now he’s extra baggage that the Sixers can’t unload for anything of value.

Okafor’s situation is a cautionary tale. Promise and potential don’t always develop into stardom and victories.

This isn’t to suggest that Fultz will be a bust. He was the No. 1 pick because has the least chance of turning into a bust among the top players in the draft, some of whom may have a higher upside. But the jury is still out on Embiid because of his health. The jury hasn’t even been seated yet to render a verdict on Simmons.

The Sixers have tremendous potential. But they are an extremely young team.

The talk of championship contention in a few years should be tempered by the knowledge that Fultz, Simmons and Embiid didn’t even play in the NCAA Tournament the past three years. They need to learn to win together at the NBA level. That takes time, especially when Simmons and Fultz didn’t even win consistently at the collegiate level.

After years filled primarily with agony and despair, Sixers fans are understandably excited by the talented young roster. The unbridled enthusiasm is a welcomed change from the daily doldrums of the past four seasons.

But that enthusiasm needs to be accompanied by patience. After four years in the desert, the Promised Land may be in sight, but the Sixers aren’t going to get there in one year.

The Sixers won’t become a championship contender this season. They may not even make the playoffs.

That may be heresy, but it may also be reality.


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