Sixers’ Starting Five Set Personal Goals for 2019 NBA Season
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) -- The 2019 NBA Season is just weeks away at this point. On Tuesday, the Philadelphia 76ers get ready to ramp up their offseason workouts in preperation for the start of their new journey, after ending the season on an extremly low note last year by way of a buzzer-beater shot in game seven.
While that moment haunted a handful of Sixers throughout the spring and the summer, the team is beginning to put it in the past as the man with the dagger is out of the conference, and the team is getting a fresh start for the 2019 campaign.
Before the Sixers could get to work on the court though, the 2019 sqaud spent their Monday at the Sixers' facility in Camden, New Jersey for their annual media day. We saw players gearing up in their Sixers threads for the first time, and we heard about some personal and team goals from the player personnel.
This year's vibe for the Sixers is a postive one, despite the drama that ensued from last season. From Joel Embiid's lousy diet plan to Jimmy Butler's potential locker room explosion, the Sixers couldn't help but see themselves in the national NBA newswire for non-basketball reasons.
The hope is that those days are behind them, though. As Embiid slimmed down, Butler departed for South Beach, and Ben Simmons cleared his mind, the Sixers sound ready for another deep playoff run. And this season, the personal goals from their starting players seem quite realistic -- and if the goals are achieved, the sky is the limit for the 2019 76ers.
Sixers' Starting Five Discusses Personal Goals for This Year
Jimmy Butler is no longer here. After a sign and trade with the Miami Heat, the Sixers got rid of one star and brought in another with Josh Richardson. Now, at this point in their careers, Richardson and Butler's 'star value' do not add up.
It's apparent that Butler has more starpower at this point. But Richardson is no scrub. In fact, he might be better for the Sixers in the long run anyway as he won't take away action from one of the Sixers' biggest starters.
Philly doesn't know much about Richardson, but soon they will find out that he is going to bring high-intensity play on a daily basis. Richardson mentioned on Monday that he's not going to go out there and try to be like Butler or JJ Redick even though he is techincally a replacement for them. Richardson is just going to work hard and be himself.
Everybody needed to hear what Ben Simmons was going to say regarding his jumpshot this season. The entire NBA wants to see Ben Simmons shoot three-pointers. We know he can dunk, play defense, and make nice passes -- but the jumpshot is what everybody craves from Simmons at this point in his career.
"If it's open, I'll take it," Simmons said on Monday and sent everybody into a frenzy. Typically, Simmons would avoid that type of question or put a spin on it so he didn't have to explain why he wasn't shooting the long-range jumpers.
On Monday, he explained though. As a number one pick, Simmons faced a lot of scrutinies. It seems as though the constant pressure got to his head and made him more hesitant to do things such as shooting a simple three-point shot. The hope is that Simmons puts those mental issues aside and just plays the game the way he knows he can play it.
When the Sixers traded for Tobias Harris at the trade deadline last season, they acquired him because Philly needed a reliable shooter. Harris has already done a great job proving that he can drain shots on the floor, but now he's ready to expand his game.
This year, Harris vows to work on being a better two-way player. As the Sixers could realistically become one of the top defensive teams in the NBA, they are going to need all hands on deck producing in that department. Harris acknowledges that and now he's looking to be better in that department.
As a proven veteran in the NBA, Al Horford doesn't have many personal goals left for himself. Everything he speaks about revolves around the team. The man is humbled to be playing alongside Joel Embiid. He spoke for Ben Simmons, claiming the young point guard is an absoloute gym rat, who is constantly working on his game.
Horford made it clear that the stats, the minutes, and the personal accomplishments wouldn't weigh up to winning a championship with the Sixers. At this point in his career, that's all that matters. Horford is in Philly to win it all.
Last season wasn't easy for Joel Embiid. As a matter of fact, his journey up to this point hasn't been all that easy. With the consistent battling of injuries and the criticism for coming up short in very clutch moments, Embiid has been through a lot. Yet, he's still one of the best big men in the game.
This year, Embiid wants to cut down on the trash talk. Also, he cut down on his weight. Down 25-pounds for the summer, Embiid eventually put on an extra five, which is all muscle apparently. After being under heavy scrutiny for his physical health, Embiid made it a goal of his to fix his diet, and become obsessed with a workout regimen.
The hope is that Embiid's new healthy lifestyle can help him stay off of the injury report in 2019. Everybody understands that Embiid likely won't ever play 82 games in an NBA season. But he intends on exceeding at least 65 games, which he has never done. For this year, Embiid would like to play at least 70 games. That's his main goal.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN. You can follow Justin on Twitter: @JGrasso_