"They've got playmakers, they've got shot-takers, they're just play-off-built". Although he allowed Embiid relative freedom as an individual scorer - 35.3 points per 100 possessions, right in line with his full-season average - the 76ers managed an absurdly slim 96.7 points per 100 possessions when Horford was his primary defender.
"I kind of count this as my rookie season, because I'm coming in healthy", said Embiid, who finally enters the season on a level playing field with other players in terms of health.
We all can see there are going to be growing pains as Fultz dives into his first full National Basketball Association season, but those pains can be mitigated by giving Fultz more opportunities to do what he does best right now - create off the dribble.
Still, Fultz wasn't exactly put in positions tailor-made for his success.
"We're all just unselfish", said Terry Rozier, who finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. "He could be captain of that challenge, that mindset". Along with the fact that there is often a carryover effect from the previous season for these awards, I feel confident that Stevens will win the 2018-19 Coach of the Year Award. I try to coach him without the knowledge of his draft order. It made me realize that while MVP is evolving beyond "best player on best team", COY is still very much all about wins, and wins only. That's how I am approaching it.
The Celtics went 7-2 against the Sixers past year and have won nine straight matchups against Philadelphia at home, including the playoffs. "It's inevitable he will have ups and downs". This one was but a blip.
The two biggest additions to last season's surprise playoff team that got within a game of the Finals, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, played ancillary roles instead of being the 1A and 1B on Tuesday. As Celtics fans well know, Danny Ainge traded the No. 1 overall pick, which Philadelphia used to take Fultz, for the No. 3 overall pick, which Boston used to take Tatum, and what will most likely turn out to be a 2019 first-round pick from Sacramento.
Somehow, between now and then, they'll have to figure out how to turn this Sixers-Celtics thing into a legitimate rivalry.
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