The Sixers will suffer a brutal loss

The Sixers will suffer a brutal loss

Getty Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

When the Philadelphia 76ers embarked on “The Process” just under a decade ago, the goal was simple: bring a championship to Philadelphia. Too many teams find themselves stuck in basketball purgatory overpaying players to stay marginally relevant en route to an early playoff exit.

The Sixers have been far from marginally relevant lately. Over the past five years, Philadelphia has the second-highest regular-season win rate in the league. It’s not hard to see how the Sixers were so strong during the regular season. Led by Joel Embiid, the team has maintained a consistent set of stars at the top of the roster: Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris.

But for all that regular-season success, the Sixers have certainly stumbled in one area: playoff wins. The Sixers have finished fourth or higher in the Eastern Conference in four of the last five seasons.

But just as the regular season has followed a predictable path of late, so have the playoffs. Philadelphia hasn’t made it past the Eastern Conference Semifinals since Allen Iverson bested Ty Lue in the 2001 NBA Finals. It’s a ceiling haunting the Sixers that, according to Zach Bleacher Report’s Buckley, won’t be broken next time. season.

The Sixers have ‘a lot of potential obstacles’

If Philadelphia once again bows out of the playoffs in the second round, it would be nothing short of a disaster. Every move the front office has made this summer has been geared toward building a team that can go the distance.

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The Eastern Conference Semifinals are not “the distance.”

And while the Sixers have earned praise for their offseason moves, Buckley wants to curb any premature celebrations. After all, Philadelphia has yet to prove it’s capable of a sustained playoff run.

“The Sixers have a lot of potential obstacles, and it starts at the top. Embiid is great, but he’s also a 7-footer who has struggled with a host of injury issues. Harden can tear up the nets, but he only shot 41% overall and 33% from range last season, and his record in the big moments isn’t exactly encouraging,” Buckley wrote on Sept. 22.

The obstacles are not limited to the Philadelphia list. The Eastern Conference looks as deep as any in recent memory. The Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers each added a top talent this summer. Even typical lottery locks (Orlando, Indiana, Detroit) could be playful after infusing their teams with intriguing young talent.

So while Embiid remains healthy, Harden returns to his classic form and Maxey makes the jump to the All-Star Game, the team still faces an uncertain road. There isn’t a clear favorite in the East (other than, perhaps, Milwaukee), but that also means plenty of other hungry teams have a reason to compete this season.

Fortunately, Philadelphia’s roster could be one of the best in the last half decade.

The 76ers made some big moves this summer.

Last year, Philadelphia’s lackluster performance off the bench put additional pressure on the starters to succeed. The second unit finished 27th in assists and 28th in points in the entire league.

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But Sixers boss Daryl Morey quickly went to work this summer to address those concerns. The team brought in PJ Tucker, Danuel House and Montrezl Harrell through free agency. And Philadelphia added De’Anthony Melton on draft night by sending Danny Green to the Grizzlies.

The list appears to be rearranged, and Buckley was in full agreement.

“Philly has also fielded some extremely talented teams in recent seasons and has been kicked out of the second round in four of the last five years. This group arguably looks better on paper, but could still suffer the same fate,” Buckley wrote.

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About the Author: Pierre Cohen

A person who has expertise in politics and writes articles to fill his spare time as a hobby.