One of the biggest storylines surrounding the Sixers this season has been whether LeBron James will join the promising team as a free agent in the summer.
But what if we told you the Sixers already had their own king. Well, at least according to head coach Brett Brown.
“We’ve said from Day 1, the pass is king,” Brown said after Monday’s win over the Nuggets.
If that’s the case, the Sixers are already among royalty.
The Sixers entered Tuesday tied for second in the entire NBA with 26.4 assists per game, behind only the champion Golden State Warriors. They’ve bumped that number up to an impressive 31.2 dimes a night over the course of their current seven-game win streak, including 35 in that victory over the Nuggets.
“Everybody loves to play with people that pass the ball,” Brown said. “One of the large differences this year is the receivers can finish either through threes or in the paint.”
True, it only becomes an assist if the person on the receiving end finishes the play. However, it’s the mentality of passing that helps spark everything.
Perhaps more than any other principle he brought from San Antonio, Brown has instilled in his young team that being unselfish with the ball is paramount. The Sixers genuinely want to share the rock and see their teammates get easy baskets.
Nowhere is that fundamental value more visible than the play of Ben Simmons. The point guard is averaging 8.0 assists and passed Allen Iverson for the most dimes by a rookie in franchise history with his 12 against Denver.
Even Markelle Fultz, back Monday after a 68-game absence, got in on the action with eight assists.
“How good is that? To look down and see 35 assists,” Brown said. “And, to your point, to add up those two point guards. Then look at the turnovers, you know they pass.
“… That’s a big number from those two and it’s a massive number again from our team. Thirty-five assists is something we’re proud of.”
What would make the squad even more proud is continuing to share the wealth when the postseason rolls around. When opponents’ offenses start to slow down in the playoffs and they look to their stars to carry them, the Sixers can focus on keeping the ball hopping around to everyone.
After all, what good is it being royalty if everyone in the kingdom doesn’t eat?