Next up in our “Seasons in Review” series, we take a look at 76ers GC, who played well through and through and figured out their future.
Check out the latest installment of this series, where Will Beverina considered the ups, downs, and secure future of Cavs Legion GC’s season.
Current roster: Radiant, Steez, Newdini, ZDS
Protections: Radiant, Steez
Offseason transactions: Retained Newdini and ZDS at the cost of second- and third-round picks.
Draft picks: 1st (19th), 4th (71st)
The Good: The 76ers started the season in perfect fashion and finished it pretty well, too. Liberty’s newest squad took home the TIPOFF banner and stayed very consistent—consistently good—throughout the season (discounting that bizarre aberration with Radiant at the shot-creating slasher). 76ers GC clinched the second overall seed with a 10-4 record and beat Wizards DG in the first round before bowing out. Radiant demonstrated that he’s an elite point guard and formed impressive chemistry with Steez, the team followed Jeff Terrell’s top-notch coaching, and the organization as a whole displayed its smart structure and integrity.
The Bad: 76ers GC suffered a major upset at the hands of Bucks Gaming in the first round of the TICKET, and weren’t able to make the Finals, but overall there’s hardly a diverse portfolio to critique (again, besides that crazy time they stuck Radiant at the three). They did struggle at times to beat inferior teams and the gameplan left Feast on the wrong side of the single-game scoring record. That’s generally symptomatic of the 76ers’ struggles against elite shot-creating slashers and other dominant offensive teams—76ers GC allowed over 60% shooting from the field, per 2k Analytics—which, seemingly quashed against Wizards DG, reared its head again while getting swept by Heat Check Gaming.
The Good: The boys are back, and they’re looking for glory. 76ers GC will return four players and their coach (Terrell is extended through 2021, luckily for the team). The chemistry, the lethal pick-and-roll, and the shooting are all back in town. Another year of experience for Radiant and co. should have the team even more prepared for the long season, and pick-and-roll partner Steez recently joined Radiant on Pro-Am squad No Smoke. Terrell will have an extra offseason to gameplan and remedy the team’s few shortcomings from 2018, and the front office won’t have to worry much about integrating new players—only which new players will be brought in.
The Bad: Despite returning two thirds of their squad, 76ers GC lost multiple key pieces in the offseason. Tfreshyy, who won the league’s sportsmanship award for his inspiring vocal leadership from the bench, will likely be elsewhere next season. More importantly on the court, Feast is gone, selected in the expansion draft by T-Wolves Gaming and irredeemable for a first-round pick. Losing one of the premier on-ball defenders in the league will hurt. Few will be so willing to allow 84 points for the betterment of the team, and not everyone will play good defense week in and week out.
The Big Question
What will set 76ers GC above and beyond?
76ers GC, as noted above, returns four players, matched only by the championship-winning quartet of Knicks Gaming. The 76ers’ core, as well as it did in season one—and it did really well, as stated above—didn’t win a championship.
What will make 76ers GC an obvious championship contender? The immediate answer might be a takeover machine or a pure lock. Perhaps some defensive-minded talent will unburden Radiant and Newdini and ZDS on the defensive end. Takeaways will also enable the team to get out in transition, where for most of the season Radiant and his weapons were absolutely lethal. 76ers GC ranked dead last in the league in steals per game, according to 2K Analytics. The retail build of NBA 2K19 emphasizes locks. Two plus two equals four.
It might not be that. It might be a solid stretch four to replace Feast and perhaps open up the pick-and-pop game that Radiant developed last season. It might be an inspired season from Radiant himself, or splendid coaching from Terrell, or a breakout campaign from ZDS or Newdini. 76ers GC has the potential to set themselves ahead of the pack.
The only question is how.