It's a season McConnell says ended prematurely.
This is a Celtics team without its two best players; Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
Over his first career postseason, Embiid averaged 21.4 points, 12.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 34.8 minutes a night over eight games against the Celtics and Miami Heat. Ben Simmons was a regular triple-double threat and emerged as a favorite to win rookie of the year.
McConnell played the best basketball of his young career in Philly's playoff run. Fultz returned in time for the final 10 games of the season.
Both Simmons and Embiid were the targets of chants all series, from, "Not a rookie!" and "Shoot!" for the former, and the less creative, "Embiid sucks!" for the latter.
"From Day 1 to now, I improved a lot by him in teaching me how to get shooters open, where they want the ball, what I need to help him get open, what he needs to help me get open, and we learned a lot from each other", Simmons said. "Our goal was to make the playoffs". "If we do that, then we know the percentage is going to play out in our favor every single time".
They did, which makes this offseason about as key as any in recent 76ers history for team president Bryan Colangelo. Thanks to a trade back in 2015, the Sixers got their hands on the Lakers' 2018 first round pick with one notable exception. Markelle Fultz turned into Allen Iverson.More news: Warriors Head into Conference Finals as NBA Title Odds Favorites
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Trailing Boston by two with the shot clock off in the fourth quarter of Game 5, the Sixers turned to a suddenly unmasked Embiid for a potential game-tying basket. After sitting out most of the season with a shoulder injury, which messed up his jump shot, it seemed that Fultz was good to go.
Of course, Embiid could have very easily have made those attempts, but he could have gone to the line to shoot two free throws to tie the game up as well.
Embiid also recognized the Sixers have plenty of room for improvement.
"He's really had to change his game all year", Horford said.
Redick would like to return but it's doubtful the Sixers would offer him that kind of cash, even on a shortened deal. Against the Sixers, he went 7/16 (43.75%). It was clearing money on the salary cap to put them in position to sign major free agents. "I was thinking about it, just looking at [Kevin Durant] and [Russell] Westbrook, what they did the first season together, I think they won 28 games".
James is a mentor of Simmons and their friendship could be a factor in the Cleveland star's defection to Philly.