Brett Brown says Joel Embiid will be ready to make his debut next season

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The Philadelphia 76ers fans have not had much to cheer about in the last three years but recent developments would suggest that an upturn in fortunes is on the horizon. 

The resignation of general manager Sam Hinkie in April, who took the decision to tank for multiple seasons to acquire high draft picks and assets, was the first step in the team's efforts to improve on their dreadful losing record of previous campaigns.

Hinkie was swiftly replaced by Bryan Colangelo who immediately declared, "We're really changing our focus toward winning." 

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The team's hopes of winning will hinge on several factors, though, the biggest being the return of Joel Embiid. The number three overall pick in 2014 has been hampered by injuries for two years and is yet to play a single minute in the NBA.

A healthy Embiid, who has all the attributes to be a dominant player in the league, could be the difference maker for Philadelphia and head coach Brett Brown has confirmed he is primed to take to the floor and make his debut on opening night next season.

"That is my belief," Brown said. "Yeah, that is my strong belief."

"He's downstairs beneath me as we speak, getting a lift and a workout. I had a chance to work him out personally a few days ago and the instruction from the medical staff all around us as we go nice and smart, nice and carefully, nice and slow relative to his pace. I think that he's coming along tremendously.

"From a maturity standpoint and the reality of the professionalism that is required for him to be money and just perfect with the rehab, pre-hab, nutrition, all of that with his foot is ever-present in Joel Embiid.

"I think that he is all over the place on track to have just a solid first year. There could be minute restrictions on his first year where we start off the season slowly with him. But in general, I know he's just so excited to get out there and play basketball again."

For a franchise looking to make a significant improvement next year, the 22-year-old is crucial to their hopes. The 76ers finished the 2015-16 campaign with the worst record in the league at 10-72 and surely can't get any worse moving forward. 

The fans in the City of Brotherly Love have been patient and painfully endured the organisation's slow rebuilding job for numerous years, but it's now time for the Sixers to repay their faithful by putting a competitive team together. 

With a promising frontcourt of Embiid and Jahlil Okafor next year, Philly will have something to build around and can expect to significantly improve on their wins tally and no longer be a pushover in the league.   

Philadelphia 76ers
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Joel Embiid
Jahlil Okafor

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