NBA 2023-2024 Preview: Has Philadelphia 76ers Process Concluded?

Philadelphia 76ers NBA Preview 2023 2024

Who will take over the NBA championship from the Nuggets? Over the next month, our editorial team will assess all 30 teams of the major American league. Today, we turn our spotlight to one of the league’s most unpredictable teams: the Philadelphia 76ers.

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2022/2023 Season Recap: Another Semi-finals Exit

For the third season in a row under the leadership of Doc Rivers, the 76ers faced elimination in the conference semi-finals. Despite coaching changes, roster adjustments, and varying opponents, the seasons seem all too familiar for the City of Brotherly Love. Their regular-season performance is commendable, consistently securing a Top 3 spot in the East. This year’s highlight was Joel Embiid earning his first-ever Regular Season MVP award. Undoubtedly, the center’s outstanding season was augmented by assists from his right-hand man, James Harden.”

Every year, as if on cue, Embiid faces an injury, and this year was no different, getting hurt at the end of the series against the Nets. This required James Harden to put on a Herculean performance in Game 1 of the semi-finals against Boston. With the 76ers leading the series 1-0, Embiid made his return. However, suddenly, things took a turn for the worse. Harden struggled throughout the series, save for his outstanding Game 4 performance. Despite these challenges, the 76ers were leading 3-2 and had two chances to clinch the series. They narrowly lost Game 6, and Game 7 was a massive collective downfall, with both Harden and Embiid failing to make their mark. This setback, likely the last straw, set the stage for a tumultuous offseason.

Offseason Moves

Departures

Doc Rivers (Coach), Georges Niang, Mac McClung, James Harden (pending)?

Extensions

Paul Reed (3 years), Montrezl Harrell (1 year)

New Additions

Danny Green (from Cavaliers), Kelly Oubre (from Charlotte), Mo Bamba (from Lakers), Patrick Beverley (from Bulls), Nick Nurse (as Coach)

Philadelphia 76ers’ Starting Lineup

De’Anthony Melton – Tyrese Maxey – Tobias Harris – PJ Tucker – Joel Embiid

Bench Rotation

Point Guards

Patrick Beverley, Terquavion Smith (two-way contract)

Shooting Guards

Furkan Korkmaz, Danny Green, Jaden Springer, Ricky Council IV (two-way contract)

Small Forwards

Danuel House, Kelly Oubre Jr., Azuolas Tubelis (two-way contract)

Power Forwards

Paul Reed, Montrezl Harrel

Centers

Mo Bamba, Dewayne Dedmon

Strengths and Weaknesses

Weakness: Team Morale

When it comes to team atmosphere, the 76ers seem to be struggling early this season. The James Harden situation stands out, proving particularly challenging. Harden no longer wishes to play for Philadelphia, and his current market value is notably low. The Clippers appear to be the only interested team, but it’s uncertain when or if a deal will happen and what the 76ers might receive in return. To complicate matters, the new coach, Nick Nurse, while a strategic mastermind, isn’t known for diplomacy. Allegedly, according to his burner Twitter account, he doesn’t have a high regard for Harden. Until Harden’s transfer situation is resolved, gauging the 76ers’ true potential will be challenging.

Strength: Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid is presently among the top three players globally. His MVP title, though fiercely contested, was well-deserved. Last season, the center led the league in scoring with an average of 33 points. With Harden’s potential departure, Embiid will likely see even more of the ball. Expect a significant season from the Cameroonian star. For Philadelphia to remain competitive, Embiid will need to be a frontrunner, if not retain his title as the league’s best player.

Player to Watch: Tyrese Maxey

With James Harden potentially out of the picture, the backcourt now belongs to Tyrese Maxey. A breakout star since Harden’s arrival, Maxey is undoubtedly the second-best player on the roster if Harden departs. Equally effective with the ball or off-ball, he’ll need to prove this season that he can be a reliable secondary option for a contending team. This will be his fourth season in the NBA, and he’s already shown he can average 20 points in a season. If his progression continues, he should soon be in contention for an All-Star selection. And Philadelphia will need at least that from him to be truly dangerous this season.

End of Season Prediction: 4th in the East

Given recent developments, it wouldn’t be surprising if Philadelphia’s initial games are challenging. Nick Nurse is a very distinct coach, demanding a lot from his players. And with the uncertainties surrounding James Harden, it’s hard to make projections. However, this roster has talent. Joel Embiid is in his prime, and Tyrese Maxey continues to improve. Even if the Harden situation has rattled the team, there’s still a sense of continuity. That should be enough to secure a top 6 spot in the East, but it’s challenging to forecast how they’ll fare by the season’s end.

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