Basketball Reference released projected stat lines for every NBA player. How did the Philadelphia 76ers fare?
The Philadelphia 76ers begin the NBA season on Thursday, Oct. 16 against Kyrie Irving and the vaunted Boston Celtics. With LeBron James heading west, that game could foreshadow an inevitable Eastern Conference Finals matchup.
This summer was an eventful one for the Sixers and their fans. Joel Embiid spent his first healthy offseason working with Drew Hanlen. Markelle Fultz put in three-a-days to reclaim his effectiveness as a shooter. Ben Simmons wasn’t snoozing either.
After winning 52 games and nabbing a top-three seed, the Sixers are looking to take the next step — to become title contenders in a winnable Eastern Conference. With Embiid and Simmons, they have the star power to do it.
In order to take that next step, some improvement is necessary. Basketball Reference recently released stat line projections for every NBA player. It’s important to note that these projections are per 36 minutes, not standard.
Joel Embiid — 27.1 PTS, 12.5 REB, 3.7 AST, 2.3 BLK, 4.3 TOV, .330 3P%
For the most part, these line up with Embiid’s 2017-18 averages. There’s actually a slight drop in a few categories — rebounding, blocks — which is an interesting prediction. Presumably in better shape and emphasizing a ‘bully ball’ mentality, Embiid’s projects as a more efficient scorer with fewer turnovers this season.
His three-point shooting was awful in preseason, but the slight tweaks to his mechanics look promising. Once he gets into a rhythm during the regular season, Embiid should become more reliable in that facet.
Ben Simmons — 17.2 PTS, 8.8 REB, 8.6 AST, 0.9 BLK, 1.8 STL, 3.5 TOV
Like Embiid, these are fairly consistent with Simmons’ per-36 averages last season. One area that might take a larger leap is assists, as Simmons averaged 10.2 assists in 30.6 minutes per game over the season’s final 20 contests.
Simmons racked up assists in great volume toward the end of last season, aggressively attacking the basket and initiating the offense. He will lead the team in minutes and is capable of averaging double-digit assists.
Markelle Fultz — 15. 4 PTS, 6.5 REB, 6.1 AST, 1.5 STL, 2.2 TOV, .359 3P%
Fultz shooting 35.9 percent from deep, on 1.8 attempts per 36 minutes, would be a win for the Sixers. As preseason showed, Fultz’s mechanics are still a work in progress. He’s much more comfortable from mid-range. If he can shoot efficiently in small doses, that’s a step in the right direction.
Dario Saric — 17.9 PTS, 8.3 REB, 3.2 AST, 2.5 TOV, .376 3P%
Saric gets a slight bump in most categories, which is on par for a young player entering his third season. While Dario lacks a high ceiling, it’s reasonable to expect some moderate improvement at 24. With that said, his dip in three-point percentage is worth noting. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain his efficiency from last season.
Robert Covington — 14.6 PTS, 6.6 REB, 2.0 STL, 1.0 BLK, .359 3P%
Covington, again, has numbers that stay consistent with his previous campaign. For someone labeled as a streaky shooter, his three-point percentage is always a point of emphasis. Covington is one of the few NBA players who can average over two steals and one block per game, not to mention per 36.
J.J. Redick — 19.7 PTS, 3.0 REB, 2.8 AST, .420 3P%
After averaging a 20.4 points per 36 last season, Redick is bound to regress to some extent. He’s getting older and will be adjusting to a bench role, which will naturally have some effect on his production. That effect might not show up in per-36 averages, of course.
You can see the stat line projections for every Sixer (and every NBA player) by searching their name on Basketball Reference.