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Sixers should be good (and interesting). Time to get the season started. | Off the Dribble

The 76ers have two All-Stars, several new players, and a huge first game at home against the Boston Celtics.

Joel Embiid, right, hides behind teammate Josh Richardson to avoid getting his photograph taken by the Sixers photographer after practice Sunday.
Joel Embiid, right, hides behind teammate Josh Richardson to avoid getting his photograph taken by the Sixers photographer after practice Sunday.Read moreMICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

You ready for the regular season?

If so, join the club. Preseason NBA basketball is a tease. Right now, folks have watched the 76ers destroy a Guangzhou Loong-Lions squad that wouldn’t be able to beat a Power Five conference NCAA squad. Then they unveiled different lineups while toying with the Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons. And they saw them brick a bunch of three-point shots in a lackluster loss to the lowly Washington Wizards.

But we really won’t know how good the Sixers are until Wednesday night’s season-opener against the Boston Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center.

And, boy, should that be an interesting one with free-agent acquisition Al Horford facing his former team. Plus, the Sixers and Celtics are longstanding Atlantic Division rivals. So Wednesday night’s matchup is going to be interesting.

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— Keith Pompey (

Things have definitely changed

Don’t mind Brett Brown if the coach sheds a tear of joy at the start of the season-opener.

Having a starting lineup such as the one he’s about to put on the court has been a long time coming. The Sixers have arguably the league’s best center in two-time All-Star Joel Embiid. The group also includes All-Star point guard Ben Simmons, five-time All-Star Horford, fringe All-Star Tobias Harris, and Josh Richardson, one of the league’s top two-way players.

Not bad for a franchise that was the laughingstock of the NBA during Brown’s first three seasons. One of the lasting moments from that 18-win season was when Brown sounded off on the final day of the season about the Sixers’ high-volume roster turnover.

First, the Sixers head coach was disappointed that player Brandon Davies had been traded that December, saying the move made it tough to build a team and culture. Then later, Brown expressed reluctance to coach a team of “gypsies.”

Managing partner Josh Harris hinted that the Sixers would take on a third year of their epic rebuilding process during the 2015-16 season. Hearing that, Brown noted that he expected a lot less roster turnover.

“To coach gypsies, to have to coach a revolving door," he said, "that’s not what I’m looking for.”

Starting five

Bending over interview flow

Now this was different.

Joel Embiid didn’t want to be photographed by a team photographer during media availability. So the mammoth All-Star center, all 7-foot-2 and 280 pounds of him, bent over while answering questions. At one point, he put his blue practice jersey over his mouth while speaking. Yet, the media continued to ask questions as if everything was normal.

The problem is I could barely hear his responses to the questions he was asked. Maybe next time, the media should also bend over or, better yet, sit on the floor on the practice court with legs crossed. Knowing Embiid, he’ll one-up the media by being positioned atop a 20-foot, double-rail, swivel ladder tree stand.

Important dates: First five games

Wednesday: Boston Celtics at Sixers, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia and ESPN

Saturday: Sixers at Detroit Pistons, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia

Oct. 28: Sixers at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia

Oct. 30: Minnesota Timberwolves at Sixers, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia

Nov. 2: Sixers at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m., NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBA TV

Passing the rock

Question: What is this team missing and can it be addressed via a trade or a signing before the all-star break? — @coachskipbball on Twitter

Answer: What’s up, @coachskipbball? I remember you from my days of covering high school basketball. Thanks for the question. This team needs someone to come off the bench to be a designated scorer and/or three-point specialist. As much as the Sixers are hyped, trust me, they won’t get out of the Eastern Conference without that type of player. Yes, that can be addressed via trade or a signing before the All-Star break.

Jamal Crawford would be perfect for that role, and he’s available. Some might point out that he’s 39 years old. Yes, that’s true. But he gets buckets and he’s a clutch three-point shooter. Crawford also would mentor the young players on the team. He already has a big brother-type of relationship with Matisse Thybulle. So it would only make sense to sign Crawford.

Send questions by email or on Twitter (@PompeyOnSixers)