Stars Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons explain what’s different with Sixers

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The Philadelphia 76ers entered the 2019-20 season with high expectations after finishing in heartbreaking fashion in the season before. They were hoping the moves made in the offseason would push them over the top.

Unfortunately, every move made backfired, and they were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round in the Orlando bubble. It was a fitting end to a very disappointing season.

Fast forward to this season and the team clinched the No. 1 seed for the first time since the Allen Iverson days in 2001. They have been terrific all season. Led by star duo Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Sixers are looking to bring home the Larry O’Brien trophy and complete their rebuilding plan.

“It starts from when the Sixers finished the season 10-72,” said Embiid. “From that time, we’ve only improved. The following year, I only played 31 games, and I feel like in those games, we were competitive, and if I would have finished the year, we had a great January that year, I really believe we would have made the playoffs if I hadn’t gotten hurt.”

Philadelphia finished 28-54 that season after losing the big fella to the injury, but then Simmons joined the team and the Sixers made serious strides.

“The following year, Ben joined and we started killing it,” Embiid added. “Then we finished with the third seed. We lost to Boston in the second round, so I think that’s where it starts. Every year, we’ve gotten better.”

In order to fully make the big jump in the 2020-21 season, the Sixers needed to make some big changes. They brought in Doc Rivers to replace Brett Brown while also bringing in shooters Danny Green and Seth Curry in order to properly space the floor for Embiid and Simmons to operate. Those moves have put the team in a much better position to win.

“I think we knew we had special pieces on the team and a great opportunity, but it was good to get a little change and just the Sixers organization in terms of the new coaching staff and bringing in some guys that have had that experience and go into championships, and deep playoff runs so it’s been great this year,” Simmons added. “I’m not too worried about or concerned about what people are saying.”

The moves the team made have also helped put Embiid in a better position. The space he has had to operate has helped him be as dominant as ever and he is squarely in the MVP conversation. Now, the challenge is to to get it done in the postseason.

“I’ve mentioned that in the past, I just felt like everything was fitting,” Embiid finished. “From the owners to coaches, the front office to the players, I just felt like everybody was on the same page. That’s why we were able to have such a good regular season, but at the end of the day, it’s all good. You got to go out and prove why you were the No. 1 seed and you got to go in the playoffs and win the whole thing.”

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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