Since Sixers head coach and interim GM Brett Brown had his now infamous “star hunting” press conference, the statement has taken on a life of its own.
What fans, and even some media members, need to remember is that there was more to that quote.
“We are star hunting,” Brown said June 22.
But the second part of that quote, which everyone seems to forget about, is also pretty important.
“Or we are star developing. That’s how you win a championship.”
The Sixers' offseason was disappointing. They took a shot at the best player in the world and came up short. After they missed out on LeBron James, fans turned their attention to Kawhi Leonard, but the Sixers never appeared all-in on the former Defensive Player of the Year.
So now, we move on to star developing. The Sixers already have two rising stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid hasn’t been shy about his aspirations for this upcoming season, saying more than once that he believes he’s capable of being the league’s MVP.
That notion really isn’t that farfetched. Only eight players have averaged at least 22 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in a season at age 23 or younger (blocks did not become an official stat until 1973-74). Six have won MVP. The other two are Embiid and Anthony Davis, who will be among Embiid’s stiffest competitors for the award.
And in case you were wondering what Embiid is up to this summer, the outspoken Cameroonian is putting in the work to back up the talk. He’s continued his work with Drew Hanlen out in L.A. Hanlen has helped Embiid develop his game a great deal from his time at Kansas.
And for the first time in his young career, Embiid went into the offseason healthy.
Then there’s Simmons, who has made more news with his dating life than anything else but has also been looking to improve upon his Rookie of the Year season. Simmons has been working on his much-maligned jumper and was recently taking part in Rico Hines 5-on-5 UCLA run. Hines’ pick-up games have featured the likes of former MVPs Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Ben Simmons shooting from........outside the paint pic.twitter.com/NenSQDvIg4— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 23, 2018
Last but not least, there’s Markelle Fultz. The 2017 No. 1 overall pick could be the key to all of this. Fultz’s injury/weird jumper/case of the yips became a big storyline in the NBA. His rookie year was certainly disappointing, but the 20-year-old guard is doing all he can to get right.
He’s also been working with Hanlen, but his jump shot remains shrouded in mystery thanks to well cut video clips.
So the Sixers' star hunting didn’t go as planned, but their star development appears to be in pretty good shape.