Daily Dish: It’s gonna take some time for the Sixers; Aaron Gordon is ready for his breakout

It was probably a little overenthusiastic of NBA fans and media members to expect the Philadelphia 76ers to compete for a playoff spot this season.

Sure, the East is underwhelming to say the least, but rarely do teams as young as Philly is actually have success in the NBA.

Joel Embiid seems like a veteran now, but he’s barely played enough NBA games (35) to not be considered a rookie (29 is the limit). The Sixers have been extremely competitive in tough games against contenders (a 105-104 loss to the Houston Rockets, 120-115 loss to Washington, 102-92 to the Celts), but they’ve got to learn how to close out wins in the NBA.

This team will be good–maybe even one of the East’s eight best by season’s end–but it might be a little overzealous to expect them to finish with one of the top eight records.

Aaron Gordon had a monstrous game (albeit against Brooklyn) on Tuesday night, putting up an absurd 41 points and 14 boards. Incredibly, the 6-9 power forward knocked down all five of his three-point attempts, went 8-for-10 from the line and finished 14-for-18 from the field.

This is more than Orlando could have even envisioned when they nabbed him with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft. Gordon was raw back then, with few reliable offensive moves and absolutely no jump shot. But he’s crafted his game like an Evan Williams bourbon commercial, and now, he’s become a stretch four.

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He’s only 22, and if he can put together performances like these throughout the regular season, the Magic (who are already 3-1 despite Gordon having missed two games) could very well end up being a playoff contender.

Frank Vogel is an excellent coach, and he’s getting the most out of guys like the underrated Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and the bruising Jonathan Simmons.

If you’re betting on a recently moribund franchise rising up and cracking the top 8 in the East, the smarter money might be on Orlando, not Philadelphia.

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