Markelle Fultz only played 14 games last season after dealing with an elbow injury most of the year. There was a lot media attention on Fultz last year because of his shot being affected and also a lot of question marks to his name. We are going on year two with Fultz now, and now we are trying to figure out his role in this offense. Ben Simmons has taken over the point guard role, but could easily play all five positions. This gives the 76ers some flexibility to use Fultz off the bench, or as a starter with Simmons playing elsewhere.
Philadelphia won 50+ games last season, and the hype has been there as individuals, but now it is there as a team. The 76ers have a tough division with Toronto and Boston within, but overall they should finish within the top half of the Eastern Conference. With a lot of young players, the 76ers have some seasoned vets to help in this sort of situation. The 76ers will have the Celtics and Raptors to be able to take some of the heat off in the division, but if they slip a little bit, it will be interesting to see how things go after such a big season.
While Robert Covington is the starting small forward, the 76ers went out and brought in Wilson Chandler. This will provide some veteran presence, but also those games where Covington struggles from the field, Chandler can be of some relief. Chandler has been playing in Denver, and has been averaging around the 30 minute mark which should take a small drop. His offense has been still fairly consistent, shooting over 44% in the last two seasons. He also is a strong rebounder and will be able to provide there as well. While he is getting older, Chandler still has enough in the tank.
This is the toughest division in the Eastern Conference, and easily the one that holds the potential top three spots in the conference. Vegas is looking at Toronto and Boston as the easy one-two in this division, but could Philly pull off an upset and surpass one of them? It would be a huge talking point, especially heading into the postseason. With Kawhi Leonard in Toronto, and fully healthy, it will be tough. Boston is also fully loaded and healthy heading into the year. A significant injury to a significant player would be the only way for Philly to overcome one of these two teams.
The 76ers were a top five team last season on the defensive side. Robert Covington is a lockdown defender, and Joel Embiid is one of the better rim protectors in the game. This is already a good core for having an above average defense. Producing top five numbers is hard to reproduce in any category, but the 76ers should be able to do it with the Eastern Conference not being heavily loaded and more offensive minded like the Western Conference. With Embiid and Covington, as long as they stay healthy they have two lock down defenders, and some good secondary pieces as well.