Now that "The Process" appears to be working and the Philadelphia 76ers have their young core of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz all on the court at the same time, they're drawing a lot of attention as a potential playoff team in the Eastern Conference.
On Thursday night before the start of the Knicks-Thunder game, TNT commentator Charles Barkley went a step further, guaranteeing that the Sixers will make the playoffs this season.
"I think Philly is going to make the playoffs," Barkley said. "I'm guaranteeing Philly is going to make the playoffs! Guarantee!"
Even Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, who has been reluctant to shower any big men with praise since he retired, complimented Embiid after seeing him play in the Sixers opener on Wednesday.
"I need to apologize. Embiid. He's nice," O'Neal said.
There's not much doubt that Embiid is nice, but Barkley's comment deserves to be met with a bit more skepticism. The Sixers are extremely talented, and they did add J.J. Redick this offseason, but keep in mind that their young core is still incredibly young. Embiid is the elder statesman at 23, while Simmons is 21 and Fultz is 19 -- and this is a team that hasn't won more than 28 games over the past four seasons.
It's hard to go from perennial loser to playoff team in just one season, but making the postseason in the East could be slightly easier this year with talent like Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Carmelo Anthony heading out West.
A guaranteed playoff spot is probably a bit much, but this Philly team is definitely going to be fun to watch. Now they just need to stay healthy.