The Philadelphia 76ers have proven all season that they are one of the best teams in the NBA. Philadelphia currently sits at fourth in the Eastern Conference, but only five games back of the top seed Boston Celtics. While the Sixers have been impressive, the more impressive fact is that they have done without their stars all being healthy at the same time for much of the season.
The Stars Are Shining
Joel Embiid is playing at a top level, staking his claim for the NBA and making an argument for the best player in the world right now. Embiid is currently second highest in points per game with 33.4 points per game, with 9.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists as well this season and multiple 50+ point games.
Tyrese Maxey has emerged from a great budding talent to a legitimate All-Star candidate when healthy, putting together 20.8 points per game and 3.9 assists per game . James Harden is beginning to find his perfect balance as a scorer and facilitator with a statline of 22.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 11.2 apg.
This has all been accomplished with Embiid missing 12 games, Harden missing 16 games and Maxey missing 20 games. Having all of their star playing at this level together makes for an extremely scary scenario for the rest of the NBA as the pick and roll, three point shooting and post play could be virtually unstoppable if they find the right mix.
The Sixers have always struggled with being an elite three point shooting team, primarly with the little spacing they had with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid starting together. However, this season, Daryl Morey’s strategy has worked great, as Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, De’Anthony Melton, Georges Niang, and Tobias Harris are all shooting 37.4% or better from the three point line, and more importantly, taking at least five three pointers a game.
This elite shooting has resulted in Philadelphia being the fourth best three point shooting team in the league. For a team that is middle of the road in terms of points per game, seeing them shoot at such a high percentage from three is a great sign that they can improve their ppg very quickly.
With all of the success the Sixers have had offensively this season, they haven’t had to trade their defensive identity for it. The Sixers are fourth in the NBA in points allowed, proving elite play on both sides of the ball. While Embiid has been a terrific rim protector as he always is, Philadelphia has been an elite perimeter defensive team, allowing the third least amount of three pointers made per game.
The Sixers have truly became a complete team in the NBA, and all that can stop them is injuries. Philadelphia will be spending the playoffs praying for health, the rest of it will take care of itself as they may very well become the scariest team in the league very soon.