Now it gets interesting.
The 2014-15 regular season was maddening in so many ways with an 18-64 record and the 76ers featuring 25 players and 41 different starting lineups.
Two years ago, the Sixers won 19 games. Do the math and it adds up to 37 wins in two seasons.
The Sixers aren’t likely to reach 37 wins next season but it should be better than each of the past two seasons.
Here are three hot items to look for in this offseason which will continue to shape the future of the franchise:
1.Embiidin the NBA Summer League
Joel Embiid is expected to play in the Summer League. That’s huge. Like Nerlens Noel the year before, Embiid sat out an entire season. He slowly seemed to make progress but there was a report that his conditioning wasn’t where it needed to be and he clashed with trainers.
The Sixers need Embiid to be 100 percent healthy and in terrific shape for the rigors of the NBA. If that happens, the Sixers will be automatically better with Embiid and Noel playing together. It will be fun to watch. The Summer League will be vital for Embiid in terms of playing in 5-on-5 games. Sounds trivial. But it will be imperative.
2. The NBA Draft Lottery
The Sixers will be involved in the NBA Lottery on May 19. They have a 15.6 percent chance of grabbing the first pick if the ping pong balls fall their way. Ideally, they’d like to finish first though anywhere in the top three would work out well.
The Sixers have landed the first overall pick just once. Remember? It was 1996 and they took Allen Iverson. If the Sixers can draft Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns or Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, they’ll automatically have another asset.
There are other good players available in the top 10 though there doesn’t appear to be a franchise-changing player. Still, this is how you take the next step: by adding solid pieces.
3. Noel under sophomore pressure
Noel had a very good rookie season though he lost out to Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins for Rookie of the Year. It’s the second season in the NBA that can be tricky. The other teams have seen you and now it comes down to executing.
Noel needs to return in even better shape with improvement shown in all aspects of his game. He began to drive to the basket with his left hand quite nicely by the end of the season. Having a go-to move for a young player is a bonus.
Noel will also need to co-exist with Embiid, which won’t happen overnight. Trading Jrue Holiday for Noel a couple of years ago looked like a risk, but it may not be in the long run. Noel got so much better by the end of his rookie season. His sophomore season in the NBA will be more challenging. All the skills are there for Noel to succeed.