Former Philadelphia 76ers forward and NBA legend Charles Barkley is buying the hype surrounding his old team in a big way.
Now with TNT as an analyst and in-house funny guy, Barkley echoes what we’ve heard from Joel Embiid and rookie Markelle Fultz. He sees the Sixers making the playoffs. And we’re not talking about in a couple of years. He says they will ‘definitely’ make postseason play next season.
“If (Joel) Embiid is healthy and (Ben) Simmons is healthy, I think they’re definitely gonna make the playoffs,” he said, via Matt Haughton of CSN Philly. “Obviously the injury thing has really hurt them the last couple years. But if those two guys are healthy, I think both of them are terrific players. Now you’ve got (Markelle) Fultz, you’ve got JJ (Redick). They’ve done some good things with the guys coming off the bench. (Dario) Saric was fantastic last year. If they don’t make the playoffs, I’d be totally shocked.”
This young team absolutely is stacked with talent. Nobody can deny that. Of course, that’s what tanking for years will get you.
After drafting Fultz and signing free agent sharpshooter J.J. Redick, they really do have the pieces to make significant improvements this year, and in the years to come. Ben Simmons is a star in the making if he can stay healthy, and Dario Saric is one of the most skilled young forwards in the NBA.
Of course, possessing talent and making it work for you are two separate things. Not to mention this team seems cursed when it comes in injuries to its promising stars, and this includes the new kid on the block. Even though he’s clearly fine, his ankle injury scared the crap out of loyal Philly fans.
It’s going to be fun watching this team grow in the coming years. The playoffs absolutely are attainable in the relatively weak Eastern Conference. Will the Sixers claim a spot this year? We can’t wait to find out.