Much like Joel Embiid and Dario Saric this year, one of the strongest candidates for Rookie of the Year next season might not come from the current draft class.
It's all part of The Process.
The famous Philadelphia 76ers mantra will yield another prospect that we've been waiting on, as 2016 NBA draft top pick Ben Simmons will be an ace in the hole for the young team.
The Australian, who spent one season at LSU and is projected to see at least some time at point guard early in his NBA career, suffered a broken foot on September 30 and has missed his entire first professional season. He suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot.
There was a belief throughout the season that Simmons might make his debut late this year, but he was shut down by the team last month and will not play this season.
Well, before Philadelphia's 107-94 loss on Sunday to the Indiana Pacers, Simmons threw down a dunk that not only showed his foot must be doing at least OK, but he also could be a candidate to challenge for a dunk contest title should he choose.
First off, how about that creativity?
Also, he made it look easy.
A closer look shows he jumps off two feet for the dunk, showing enough confidence in the injured foot to pull its weight.
Starved 76ers fans had some reactions on Twitter:
They're ready for something exciting in Philly, where this will make five straight years of missing the NBA Playoffs.
But at least this year fans saw some fruits of the painful Process that was implemented by Sam Hinkie, the former general manager.
Philly got to witness Embiid's first season, which showed plenty of promise (and unfortunately, flashed more injury concerns as well). Lately, Saric has turned into a one-man wrecking crew.
Saric should be the Rookie of the Year this season. His nine-point output on Sunday against Indiana snapped a streak of 22 straight games where he scored in double-digits, the longest streak of the season for rookies.
The 76ers also could have as many as three first round draft picks this season, as deals with Dallas, the L.A. Lakers and Sacramento (in a picks swap) could net 76ers picks, although those picks all have conditions attached to them (and the Dallas top 18 condition makes it's unlikely).
Simmons was very productive in his one season at LSU, although the Tigers did not make the NCAA Tournament. In Baton Rouge, Simmons scored 19.2 points and grabbed 11.8 rebounds per game.
It's been a long slog, but Philly fans might finally have reasons to get excited for next year.News Now - Sport News