This post appeared originally on www.fastphillysports.com
The Sixers are so weird, big, goofy and loaded with personality — well, one mega-personality — they repeat as League Pass champions despite losing the high-wattage curiosity factor of Markelle Fultz.
How will their Gigantor starting five of Josh Richardson, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Joel Embiid play on each end?
Can Simmons and Embiid find a pace that suits each of them? Where is Simmons standing and moving when he doesn’t have the ball — especially when Embiid is posting up? Will we see more Simmons-Embiid pick-and-rolls?
How do the Sixers deploy Simmons on defense? They have the goods to be impenetrable. Could they place three guys on the two All-Defensive teams?
And these are just the wonky basketball questions! Simmons might shoot jumpers! Embiid demands your attention every second. When he’s not tired, he can obliterate dudes in the post with an ease and brutality that give off the whiff of prime Shaq. (No one will ever be as devastating as prime Shaq.) But Shaq couldn’t pump-and-drive from the 3-point arc and uncork flying windmill dunks in playoff games.
Embiid is the best trash-talker in the league, and I don’t believe for one second he will follow through on his vow to stop. That would be a travesty. He actually hurts people’s feelings. The Pistons should contemplate just benching Andre Drummond against Philadelphia — that’s how badly Embiid owns him. Karl-Anthony Towns started trying on defense because Embiid humiliated him on Instagram. Hassan Whiteside is probably glad to be in the opposite conference.
Marcus Smart shoved Embiid to the floor and wanted to fight him. Eric Bledsoe got ejected after chucking the ball at him. Embiid waves goodbye to guys after fouling them out. What a legend.
Matisse Thybulle and Zhaire Smith are exciting prospects who should crack the rotation. I could listen to Brett Brown read the phone book. Philly has surpassed Boston, Portland and the Lakers as owners of the best top-to-bottom art in the league.
The Sixers are deserving champions. Now, on to the games!