The Atlantic

The 76ers' Great Basketball Experiment Is Paying Off

After years of frustration and controversy, Philadelphia finally boasts a core of young talent—led by Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons—that has become the NBA’s most exciting upstart.
Source: Mitchell Leff / Getty

It has been a season of precocity in the National Basketball Association. Seemingly everywhere, promising players are blooming into fully fledged, All-NBA-quality dynamos. For those interested in the shape of basketball to come, the 2017–18 campaign offers no shortage of thrilling case studies, such as the Milwaukee Bucks’ putty-limbed Giannis Antetokounmpo and the New York Knicks’ gigantic and sweet-shooting Kristaps Porzingis. These young intrigues hope to guide their teams to playoff berths, but that goal seems secondary to a larger one: to speed the league along into its next era.

Even in this context, though, the Philadelphia 76ers stand apart. After a five-year stretch of historic () losing, they are suddenly thriving, on the strength of not one but two

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