It’s safe to say that right now Philadelphia is the sports capital of America. With the Phillies (at the time of writing) on the cusp of reaching the World Series and the Eagles being one of the best teams in the NFL and harboring serious Super Bowl aspirations, the Philadelphia 76ers will hope to keep up the winning trend of the city alive when the new NBA season kicks off.
There is a different feel about the 76ers this year, whilst many in their home state, including the local PA sportsbooks, believe that their Championship window has closed, others will point to the fact that with pressure on teams elsewhere, this year’s squad could be capable of making a deep run.
With the opening tipoff finally here, we assess what might go right, and what might go wrong for the 76ers this year.
It’s fair to say that after three years, Doc Rivers’ stay with the 76ers seemed to be going stale. After last year’s crushing defeat Game 7 defeat to the Boston Celtics, Rivers’ race was indeed run, and he was quickly relieved of his duties.
Replacing Rivers at the helm is Nick Nurse. Most famous for winning the 2019 Finals with the Toronto Raptors, Nurse’s appointment should bring fresh creativity and a new look offense.
Nurse is a proven winner and boasts a .610 post season record. There are serious hopes that his appointment will help steer the 76ers to their first championship since 1983.
If you can boast the reigning MVP of the league in your starting lineup you can have serious expectations of another good year and fans of the 76ers will be hoping that Joel Embiid will have another monster year.
It’s safe to assume that the 76ers will go as far as Embiid will take them, but if he can be at his dominant best, the 76ers will win a lot of games.
Whilst you can’t pay too much attention to pre-season form, the 76ers preparation for the new season hasn’t been helped by the constant rumors and rumblings surrounding James Harden that finally ended when they traded Harden to the Clippers..
Harden has made his position abundantly clear and has expressed publicly that he wants to leave town. Rightly, the 76ers front office aren’t willing to let one of the league’s best players leave for next to nothing and as of yet haven’t met a trade partner.
The ongoing Harden saga has dominated much of the 76ers pre-season but now the team can move on.
A talented Eastern Conference
If the 76ers are going to wind up representing the Eastern Conference in this year’s Finals, then it’s safe to say that they will need to do it the hard way as there are some seriously talented teams standing in their way.
Both the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics look to have exceptionally strong rosters and have dominated most of the pre-season Championship betting. Whilst the threat of the Bucks and Celtics looms large, other teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and New York Knicks will all be hopeful of spoiling the party and embark on a deep post-season run.