Sixers Plan on Having Healthy Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in 2017
When people discuss the next step for the Sixers - there is always an "if".
"If" Joel Embiid, who has played 31 games in three seasons is healthy.
"If" Ben Simmons, who has never played an NBA game can get on the floor due to injury, can get healthy.
Add in guard Jerryd Bayless, who missed all but three games this season after undergoing surgery on his left wrist in December, and the Sixers are adding three key pieces to their lineup, which won 28 games without them in 2016-2017.
How many games can the Sixers win in 2017-2018 "if" they're all healthy?
Sixers President of Basketball Operations and general manager Bryan Colangelo joined me on the Sports Bash and sounded like he planned on having his two key stars, plus Bayless healthy in 2017-2018.
"We always talk about what if, and now we got some certainty going into this season," Colangelo acknowledged. "We have two healthy bodies in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, we know that Jerryd Bayless is like having a free agent signee even before free agency opens."
The Sixers won 28 games last season, 18 more than the previous year, and they did it with just 31 games of Embiid, zero games of Simmons and three games with Bayless.
"Well the big variable factoring in is, what would we have been had Ben Simmons not hurt himself or Jerryd Bayless not hurt himself in the early part of the year, the season could look dramatically different," Colangelo stated.
"Even with Joel playing the way he did with the minutes restriction early on and ultimately playing at an incredible level and then ultimately getting hurt and sitting out for the rest of the season. Having said all of that we still won 28 games and had an 18 game improvement."
So how many games is having Embiid, Simmons and Bayless together for a full season, plus whoever they add in this year's draft, plus free agency?