In his preview of the coming season in Philadelphia, John Hollinger of The Athletic wonders whether the NBA world is sleeping on the Sixers after last season’s fourth-place finish and second-round exit.
As Hollinger outlines, signing P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, and Montrezl Harrell while trading for De’Anthony Melton – whom Hollinger refers to as one of the NBA’s most underrated players – helped shore up virtually all of the roster’s glaring holes, and the time might be right for the 76ers to break through in the Eastern Conference.
Hollinger is expecting big things from this year’s team, predicting that Philadelphia will finish the 2022/23 season with the second-best record in the East and will win the title, with Joel Embiid earning MVP honors.
Here’s more on the Sixers:
- The Sixers are relieved not to have this year’s training camp dominated by questions about Ben Simmons‘ holdout, like last year’s was, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Head coach Doc Rivers told reporters that it’s “nice not having to deal with this stuff,” while Georges Niang suggested everyone on the roster is on the same page heading into this season. “We know who we have and you know who’s in your circle and you feel like you can build,” Niang said. “With all of us last year, it was kind of like we didn’t know who was going to get traded, who was going to come back. I think it’s good to just know who’s going to be here.”
- Isaiah Joe, whose minimum-salary contract is non-guaranteed, isn’t a lock to make the Sixers’ regular season roster, but he says he’s not stressing about his future, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “My mindset through this is as long as I’m the best version of myself, I believe that I will be all right,” Joe said. “I believe that I will be all right, especially with the guys that we got.” Pompey suggests that the last spot on Philadelphia’s roster could come down to Joe, Trevelin Queen, and Charles Bassey, with Bassey perhaps the longest shot to make the team.
- Originally cast as the Sixers’ third star, Tobias Harris now finds himself fourth in the pecking order behind Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey. In a separate story for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pompey explores how Harris will adjust to his new role.
- The acquisition of Harrell seemed likely to make Paul Reed the third center on the 76ers’ depth chart, but he continues to serve as the primary backup center to Embiid so far in the preseason, Pompey writes for The Inquirer. Even Reed himself has been somewhat surprised by that decision. “I was a little shocked,” he said. “But at the same time, I still want to stay humble, you know? I don’t want to get too big-headed, you know? I want to keep doing what I’m supposed to be doing so I can keep earning more trust and keep getting more minutes.”