One common theme of this Sixers' season has been change. From the organizational overhaul in the front office to the massive changes in the coaching staff and roster makeup. But there is another area that has changed greatly as well.
Whether it is from the new voices in the locker room or just experience, we have seen growth in both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid as leaders. Players and coaches have touched on this at points throughout the season, and Furkan Korkmaz would be the most recent.
As one of the few players who started their NBA journey in Philadelphia with Embiid and Simmons, Korkmaz has had a first-person view of this growth. After Friday's loss to the Pelicans, he would give his thoughts on how Simmons has taken a step as a leader this year.
"Definitely this year, he's talking more on the court, off the court, he's trying to help. He acts like a veteran. He plays like I think he has ten years in the league. He understands the game, and he knows the game. I'm saying this every day, he's a grown man right now. Joel and Ben, I have seen them for four years. I can definitely tell they're really men now," said Korkmaz.
Bringing in Doc Rivers to be the head coach, and adding veterans like Danny Green and Dwight Howard, continues to have a large impact on this team. Age and maturity also play a factor in this, but having the right kind of people around young stars is crucial as they enter their primes.
Guys like Green and Howard understand their place in a locker room and have continued to help this team grow. The youth of this team's franchise cornerstones seems to be forgotten about at times, but hearing teammates talk about them like this is a huge sign that they are ready to take the next step.
Embiid and Simmons are always going to be looked at as the leaders of this team. Hearing teammates praise their growth as focal points in the locker room makes it seem like they are willing and ready to take on that mantle.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.