Walk by a magazine rack sometime soon and you’ll see the faces of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, JJ Redick and Tobias Harris staring back at you.
The 76ers’ starting five are Sports Illustrated’s cover boys for the Feb. 25 issue, in which the staff revisits what to make of the Eastern Conference after the trade deadline.
“Consider the Sixers. For months, opponents have scrambled their defensive assignments to check 6′10” point guard Ben Simmons with either a big wing or an actual big. This was possible because Philly’s fifth starter offered an out; even a smaller guard could contain 6′9″ Wilson Chandler," the story reads.
“Replacing Chandler with a scorer as proficient and diverse as Harris makes this entire notion untenable. The NBA is a guard’s league, but what exactly is a guard to do against the Sixers? Stand in the way of a freight train like Simmons? Absorb the battering ram drives of the 6′9″ Harris or 6′8″ Jimmy Butler? Grab All-Star center Joel Embiid’s leg and hold on for dear life?”
You can read the full SI story here.
According to SI’s cover archives, it’s been a minute since the Sixers made the cover.
The last time? The 2008 NBA preview, featuring none other than current Sixers general manager Elton Brand.
The cover line asks: “How far can Elton Brand take the Sixers?” Funny enough, the same is still true 11 years later.