With a 15-6 record, 21 games into the regular season, the 76ers sit atop the Eastern Conference, finally looking like a legit title contender. Joel Embiid looks to be a front runner for MVP, averaging 28.3 ppg, while scoring at a remarkable efficiency(66.9 true shooting). While “The Process,” has stolen the spotlight, Doc Rivers in his first season with the organization as head coach has found a way to utilize the 76ers in the most efficient way. With the 3rd best record across the entire NBA, the 76ers rank top 10 amongst ppg, rpg, fg%, spg, and bpg. The 76ers have 6 players shooting over 50% from the field on the season, while Seth Curry is shooting 50% from 3 point territory(ranks 3rd), and Tobias Harris is shooting 46.4% from downtown(ranks 10th). This 76ers team seems to be the most balanced we have ever seen them during the “Process,” but also the most lethal.
After countless mistakes made by coach Brett Brown over the past 7 seasons, Rivers has not only implemented the right offensive and defensive schemes, but he has also gotten significant value from his roster in the draft and free agency. With the addition of Dwight Howard this season, Howard’s real plus minus while on the court is 0.77. While this doesn’t indicate that Howard is disrupting games offensively, his presence on the defensive end as well as rebounding the basketball(8.1 rpg), has allowed for the 76ers to rest Joel Embiid without a hindsight fear of the team losing their momentum.
As mentioned earlier, Seth Curry has helped space the floor due to his remarkable 3 point shooting this season, which has not been a factor of the 76ers offense since J.J. Reddick had left Philadelphia to sign with the New Orleans Pelicans in June of 2019. Danny Green has provided leadership to the 76ers young stars, while shooting 36.2% from behind the arc this season. After Shake Milton had torched Rivers & the Los Angeles Clippers in 2020 after scoring 39 points, Rivers has used Shake as a 6th man, similar to how Doc had used 3 time 6th man of the year Lou Williams in Los Angeles. Milton is averaging a respectable 14.3 ppg off of the bench, on 46% shooting this season. Pairing off the second unit with Shake, rookie Tyrese Maxey has provided a spark with his smothering defense, and playmaking abilities. The Kentucky guard is averaging 9.6 ppg on the season. While Ben Simmons still refuses to shoot the ball from the perimeter, Rivers has surrounded Simmons with shooters and isolation scorers to allow Ben to crash and kick on offense. Though Ben is averaging his least amount of points per game thus far in his career(13.3 ppg), The “Fresh Prince,” is still averaging 7.9 apg, 8.2 rpg, and is currently the front runner for DPOY.
While everything in Philadelphia seems to be trending in the right direction, the 76ers need to approach the trade deadline with a mindset to find another key role player. Players like Mike Scott & Furkan Korkmaz are having unproductive seasons, while young players like Terrance Ferguson still have trade value. With players like Bradley Beal, Lonzo Ball & J.J. Redick currently being rumored to be on the trading block, Philadelphia must have focus on improving the team before the trade deadline concludes. Luckily, with Daryl Morey running the show in the front office, the least the 76ers should expect is for our front office to wheel and deal new players to Philadelphia by March 25th.