Sixers Notes: Embiid, Maxey, Oubre, Mann

After earning Most Valuable Player honors in 2022/23, what sort of individual goals does Joel Embiid have for the ’23/24 season? According to Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required), the Sixers‘ star center wants to make a case for Defensive Player of the Year and would like to become more of a play-maker in Nick Nurse‘s offense.

“Make those passes and making it easy for everyone else,” Embiid said. “I think, this whole year, that’s going to be my big focus — to just try to get as many assists and trying to get my teammates involved as much as possible. … I never liked just being an [isolation] player. I don’t think that’s the right way to play, and I don’t feel that’s the right way to win. I like this system.”

Embiid’s season got off to a slow start on Thursday in Milwaukee, recording more turnovers (seven) than assists (six) in a game the Sixers lost by a single point, prompting Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer to suggest that the big man looked like the player most affected by James Harden‘s absence.

However, there were some encouraging signs in the road loss, Pompey notes. Tyrese Maxey looked excellent as Philadelphia’s new starting point guard in Harden’s stead, racking up 31 points and eight assists, while minimum-salary free agent addition Kelly Oubre scored 27 points on 9-of-11 shooting (5-of-6 three-pointers).

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • Following up on The Philadelphia Inquirer’s recent report about the Knicks‘ interest in Embiid, Ian Begley of hears from sources that the MVP’s desire to remain in Philadelphia hasn’t changed. As for the reported package that New York is willing to part with for Embiid, one source tells Begley that the Sixers and people close to Embiid “didn’t take it seriously.”
  • According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, Sixers officials learned that the Clippers made Terance Mann available during their efforts to acquire Jrue Holiday from the Trail Blazers, which is one key reason why Philadelphia has insisted on having Mann be part of any package for Harden.
  • In another article for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mizell takes a look at the work Maxey put in ahead of the season to prepare himself to take over the 76ers’ lead guard role, with Harden’s status up in the air. “My confidence is really high,” Maxey said. “I feel like, mentally, I prepared for whatever it is.”
  • Kyle Neubeck of All PHLY makes 10 Sixers-related predictions for the coming season, forecasting another 50-win year, a P.J. Tucker trade, and a 25+ point-per-game season for Maxey. Neubeck also predicts that Harden will end up playing no more than 10 more games for Philadelphia.
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