Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons and center Joel Embiid. Photo By: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
There is no question barring injury, that the Philadelphia 76ers should compete for Eastern Conference supremacy for at least the next five years. With their young dynamic duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons the future is bright for this franchise. With the success achieved last year, the 76ers are one of the favorites this year to come out of the East along with the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks. Their success hinges however on one player: Markelle Fultz.
It is not correct to label Markelle as a bust just yet, as he missed over 60 games last year due to his shoulder injury. His rookie season will go down as one of the worst by a number one overall pick and while videos surfaced last year of his unusual shooting motion he did show glimpses of why he was selected with the first overall pick. He still has a quick first step and his shooting motion did improve through the playoff run putting to bed some doubt of the lingering shoulder issue.
However, he still has a lot to prove and his maturity and growth this year will go a long way to making the 76ers a title for the title this year. As constructed now this team does have the talent to compete for the Eastern Conference title but would need Markelle Fultz back at 100% health in order to compete against the Western Conference teams if this team can make it that far. The Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockers, Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder all have all star caliber rosters built to challenge for the title. While the 76ers also have talent to be a contender they need their young energetic shooting guard to be a difference maker this year.
The Boston Celtics defeated the 76ers last year in the playoffs due to a complete roster, that lacked a true superstar, playing as an unit. It was obvious that Brad Stevens and company constructed a game plan that consisted of sharing the ball as their two biggest players, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, missed the post season due to injuries. This was truly evident in game 5 when the Celtics were able to put away the 76ers with 8 points in 77 seconds scored by four different players. While Simmons and Embiid have proven to be two of the best players in basketball, they will not be enough to carry this team to the promised land.
Right now there are more questions then answers surrounding the future of Markelle Fultz. Will Markelle be able to find his true shooting motion? Will Markelle be able to play a full grueling NBA season? Was Markelle worthy of that number one pick that this team traded many valuable assets in order to draft him? Only time will tell these answers as the NBA season is now in full swing. One thing is for certain though if Markelle is able to find his shooting motion, if he is able to show the NBA what he is capable of there is no doubt he will make this team a contender for years to come. With a trio of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz this team would absolutely be one of the best in the league and all three players are still young and in their prime. Finally the time is now for this team and city to compete for a Championship. Markelle Fultz will have a lot to say in that matter!
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