Season awards from an interesting and hopeful Sixers season
This season definitely had its ups and downs for Sixer fans. Nothing like some end of season awards to show what was notably great, and terrible.
For starters, it would be good to recap some of the non-award worthy moments of the season.
The addition of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris were extremely solid moves for the current NBA climate. Super teams are seemingly everywhere, and the Sixers had to follow in those footsteps.
Although Philly’s rendition of a super team doesn’t have the shooting prowess of a Golden State, they do have tenacity in their starting lineup unlike any team in the NBA.
It will definitely be interesting to see how far this team can go with all the major Eastern Conference teams ready to do battle in the playoffs.
For now let’s looks at some of the season awards that made Philly’s season so spectacular, and so drama-filled.
Despite a rocky past few games, the overwhelming majority of Sixer fans are happy with the Butler and Harris trades:
Most Valuable Player: Joel Embiid
This might have been a difficult question to answer at the beginning of the season. It was a toss-up between Sophomore point guard Ben Simmons and the beast down low that is Embiid.
After watching this season play out, only one of these two players developed their game at all. Fans would hope it is the young future star of the team, but unfortunately not.
Simmons will not be receiving any of the season awards unless it was for becoming a worse shooter than he already was.
On the flip side, Embiid seemed to improve in every facet of the game. He increased his points, rebounds, assists, and free throw percentage per game while playing one of the longest seasons in his career.
It’s hard to argue against a player who can seemingly put up 40 points on any given night, however, it’s even harder when his co-star did nothing to improve from year 1 to year 2.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell that Simmons hasn’t really done anything with his jumper:
Defensive player of the year: Joel Embiid/Jimmy Butler
Again, Embiid has his fingerprints all over this award. There are only a few season awards that couldn’t include the Kansas product.
Embiid progressed so much on the defensive end this year, hovering around his usual two blocks per game while averaging over three more defensive rebounds per game.
Butler was the real surprise defender for Philly this season. Yes, he has always been a lock-down perimeter defender but joining two different teams in two seasons can take a lot out of a player.
He was an absolute monster on the defensive end this season. The former Timberwolf had nearly two steals a game, and half a block. Although his blocks are down from the year before, he makes them worthwhile like his game-saving block against Charlotte earlier in the season.
Butler’s tremendous debut in a Philly uniform started on the defensive end:
Front office person of the year: Elton Brand
While we have yet to see if Brand’s blockbuster trades will pan out, he was definitely the best thing to come out of the front office this season.
This summer was a whirlwind of drama for former Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo. He was caught in a major scandal surrounding his use of multiple Twitter accounts.
Eventually, he resigned and placed blame on his wife, which practically nobody believes had private information about the team.
Brand stepped in and made both the Harris and Butler trades. Even better, he dumped Markelle Fultz which should have happened a long time ago.
Hopefully, this post-season shows just how much impact Brand had on the team throughout the year.
Fans are still pretty upset with Colangelo’s tenure in Philly:
Rookie of the year: Nobody
Unfortunately, there aren’t any rookies who really made a splash in Philly this year. Landry Shamet seemed like a bright young star but was shipped off in the Harris trade.
Zhaire Smith didn’t start playing till about a month ago so his rookie campaign left a lot to be desired.
This is a short one considering the circumstances but don’t expect the Sixers to have much rookie luck next year if they go far in the playoffs.
Worst player of the year: Markelle Fultz
Where does anybody begin with the saga of Fultz? He was the number one draft pick a season ago, supposed to be destined for greatness. So everybody thought.
Considering his smaller frame, it didn’t make sense that he was drafted before either Lonzo Ball or Jayson Tatum.
Both Tatum and Ball were the face of their respective schools while Fultz merely scored a ton of points on any given night.
It’s hard to understand what Colangelo was thinking with this one. Especially considering the team had just drafted Simmons with the first overall pick one season prior.
His lack of success on the team made his Washington days look like a distant relic that he might never get back.
Thankfully, Brand did the right thing and got Fultz out of there. Yes, two seasons is far too long to wait on the development of a number one overall pick.
A player like Fultz only comes around once in a while, so luckily Philly was able to rid themselves of that situation before money was on the table.
This season was definitely the most interesting for the Los Angeles 76ers, oh
Hopefully, this Hollywood story ends with a championship and years of actual NBA season awards handed out to the stars in The City of Brotherly Love.
Fortunately Philly won’t have to deal with the always uninterested Fultz any longer:
All stats via basketball-reference.com
Featured Image: Ben Solomon via ESPN Images
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