Three Sixers’ Land in ESPN’s Top 25 NBA Stars Under 25
The Philadelphia Sixers are an upcoming young team, with the playoffs on the horizon, all while having one of the youngest rosters in the league.
But Sixers are on their way to the playoffs behind three young players, 2015 draft picks, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, along with second-year player Ben Simmons.
The former first-round picks have all impressed in different ways, and all three are under the age of 25.
In a league full of young talent, Embiid, Saric and Simmons all rank among the game’s brightest under-25 stars, according to ESPN.com. A three-person panel comprised of Kevin Pelton, Bobby Marks and Chris Herring each ranked their top 25 NBA players that fit the age criteria, and the trio each landed on their list, with Embiid the ranking the highest at No. 3, Simmons was tied for sixth and Saric was tied for 25th.
On Embiid Marks wrote:
The 31-game sample last season teased the NBA with what the future could hold for Joel Embiid. In 786 minutes, Embiid showed himself to be a physical specimen who had the footwork of a boxer, the ability to post up or stretch the floor on offense and a defensive presence capable of blocking shots at an elite level. However, even with a scouting report that resembled an All-NBA player, the big question came back to health. Entering the first week of March, Embiid is on pace to double his games and minutes played from last season. This season he has earned an All-Star Game selection, soon to be All-NBA honors (likely second team), and a playoff berth -- all while averaging only 31 MPG.
On Simmons Pelton wrote:
Even with Simmons putting up perhaps the most versatile rookie season in NBA history, his long-term potential remains a polarizing topic. It remains to be seen how much Simmons will be held back in a playoff setting by his lack of a perimeter game -- he has made just 15 shots all season beyond 15 feet, per Basketball-Reference.com, none of them 3s. Yet as a 6-foot-10 point guard -- a position he's playing at both ends -- Simmons brings so much other value that he was a legitimate All-Star candidate in his first season at age 21.
On Saric Marks wrote:
Simmons and Embiid have garnered the national attention, but Saric continues to be the most consistent 76ers player this season. Saric's durability (missing only two games in two seasons), high basketball IQ and overall skill level stand out -- especially for a player who is 6-foot-10. Saric is also on pace to shoot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from 3 and 90 percent from the line, an accomplishment more common for a guard.