Jonathan Levin: Are the Philadelphia 76ers Playoffs-bound?
One of the most vivid childhood memories for Jonathan Levin was Philadelphia 76ers games, when his whole extended family would occupy a whole row at the old Spectrum and cheered on the likes of Moses Malone and Julius Erving as they led the team to multiple playoff appearances. As a college student and young professional, he’d later get his own tickets to see Allen Iverson and his legendary cross-overs. It’s safe to say that for Jonathan Levin, Philadelphia is the ultimate sports city.
Jonathan Levin and Philadelphia kept the faith during the mediocre years of the mid-2010s, when “The Process” was still fodder for late-night talk shows and podcasts, but it seems that Sam Hinkie’s gamble – that of trading proven pieces for high-potential lottery picks – is starting to pay off.
At the start of November, the 4-4 76ers are sitting at sixth place in the Eastern Conference, three and a half games behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and the resurgent Bucks, and just half a game behind the even more surprising Pistons. They have yet to face the tougher Western Conference teams, such as the Warriors and Nuggets, but have at least performed as expected against the lower-tier teams in their conference.
It’s also interesting to note, Jonathan Levin says, that the Philadelphia roster has been healthy for the first eight games of the season. In previous years, they had to contend with Joel Embiid playing limited minutes, Ben Simmons struggling to come off injuries, and Markelle Fultz being out and coming back with a funky-looking jump shot. The chemistry is not yet there, but should improve as the season progresses. It should also be fun to see how role players such as Dario Saric will find their niches in the shadow of the Sixers’ Big Three. If the team keeps its core healthy, it shouldn’t be far-fetched to see the Sixers making a deep playoff run in a conference that has only a few legit stars.