By now, it's no secret the Philadelphia 76ers had a range of issues across the board last season. The Sixers weren't exactly set up for success last season, from the awkward personnel fit on the court to the chemistry in the locker room.
This year, the front office made several key personnel changes to help complement the team's two All-Stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. However, the moves also seemingly improved the Sixers' chemistry this season.
"You can just feel our chemistry in the group and in the group chat the way guys communicate with one another," said Sixers third-year guard Shake Milton. "You can definitely see it carrying over to the games. It's always exciting to see."
Last season, Milton was a second-year guard who was focused on his emergence as he struggled to crack the team's rotation early on throughout the year. This year, Milton has not only earned an elevated role off the bench, but he also remains one of the key leaders of the second unit.
At this point in his career, Milton knows the team chemistry has to be right if the Sixers want to succeed. Last year, it was apparent the 76ers didn't have optimal team chemistry. This year, there are little things that Milton has noticed, which tells him they are on the right path to getting it right.
"You can definitely tell [the chemistry is good] in the locker room, just the vibes that everybody has going," Milton explained. "You can see it from the bench whenever somebody succeeds. You know, whether it be Joel [Embiid] or one of our younger guys getting on the court finally and getting some minutes and [they] score a bucket, you can see that enthusiasm and that happiness just runs through the whole team."
There's still a lot of basketball left to be played this year. And the Sixers haven't necessarily dealt with adversity just yet. While the positive vibes in Philly offer a lot of confidence for the Sixers moving forward, their chemistry has yet to really be tested.
So far, though, it seems the 76ers already have higher chances of succeeding than last season based on their chemistry alone, which is a positive sign for a talented team that needed a few significant tweaks to get back on the right track.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_