Still: This team isn’t ready to hit .500 without a lot of Embiid. If he doesn’t play enough, they fall short. It will take time for Fultz, Simmons and Embiid to learn how to split creative duties.
The schedule doesn’t help. Teams play 10 of their conference rivals four times apiece, and face the remaining four just three times. Philly’s three-timers: Chicago, Indiana, Orlando and Atlanta. Oh, come on! That probably knocks the Sixers playoff chances down a percentage point or two.
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The triple matchups rotate along a five-year matrix set years ahead.
It feels like I’ve written a lot about Randle this season, but rarely do you see a triple-double threat like himself at the power forward position be as overlooked as Randle is this season. His ADP of 69.5 screams too low to me when you consider the improvement he made as a shooter last season. The concern with Randle — other than a lack of steals and blocks — is how much playing time he might have to share with Larry Nance Jr. and impressive rookie first-rounder Kyle Kuzma, who has looked terrific all preseason.
Smart didn’t think much of the text, but then he saw ESPN’s report that the Celtics and Cavaliers were finalizing a deal. Smart opened his Twitter feed and peered with one eye shut in hopes he wouldn’t see his name.
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It was one of those things where you had to kinda sit there and wait, Smart said. It was kind of like a horror movie. ‘Don’t go behind that door!’ You hear that music and it’s like, ‘OK, what’s going to happen next?’
The 23-year-old Smart, the No. 6 pick in the 2014 draft, marvels at now being the longest-tenured Celtic. It feels like an accomplishment to have simply survived Boston’s summer overhaul.