Since 2023 began, only one team has won more games than them Philadelphia 76ers (Milwaukee Bucks, 27), there is only one team with a better offensive efficiency (Sacramento Kings, 121.6) and another with a higher number in net score (Cleveland Cavaliers, +6.4). The Sixers They have performed fantastically since they celebrated the new year, proving that their status as a contender was justified and it was only a matter of time before they reached the expected performance point.
The beginning of men Doc Rivers It was worrisome (1-4), but Philly knew how to quickly correct course and make their pieces work as they should. In a season as long as the NBA regular season, the important thing is not to start well, but to finish high, and the 76ers are in the best moment of the season.
With 7 straight wins and 15 in the last 20 games, the Sixers appear a few weeks before the Playoffs in the best possible shape. A rather unusual situation in Philadelphia, where problems and irregularities have been consistent for the past five years.
Their offense is great, the numbers show they are one of the best teams in the NBA, and they have a solid MVP candidate leading the way.
So how real is the performance of these 76ers? And more importantly, will they be able to carry it into the Playoffs? It’s time to break it down.
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Embiid and Harden, the best pair in the league?
the duo Joel Embiid-James Harden He is one of the most dangerous offensively in the entire NBA.
Without going further, The beard collects 218 assists intended for the interior of Cameroon, the best data by a wide margin in relation to the second pair (Jokic to Gordon, 139). Both complement each other perfectly because of the spaces in which they are vulnerable. Harden is a master of the direct block, able to handle all kinds of angles, while Embiid is extremely accurate on jump shots as well as on his drives to the basket.
By simply adding some data to this statement, the base produces 1.21 points per possession at the finish after a direct block and the African 1.33 in the jumps in this same type of sequences. In short, two offensive weapons that are very difficult to stop or moderate when they can show off their style.
However, the real challenge for these two will come in the Playoffs when they face other pairings of equal or greater talent. How do Harden and Embiid compare to them? These are the numbers of the best pairs of the main candidates:
|pos.||Pair of||offensive percentage||defense ratio||Net Rating|
|1||Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday||118.8||106.8||+12.0|
|2||Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray||123.1||111.2||+11.9|
|3||Joel Embiid and James Harden||120.9||111.5||+9.4|
|4||Chris Paul and Devin Booker||117.7||109.3||+8.4|
|5||Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland||116.2||109.6||+6.7|
|6||Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown||117.5||111.3||+6.2|
|7||Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox||120.1||116.3||+3.9|
The Sixers aren’t hitting Conference Finals since 2001, that is, more than two decades ago. A streak they want to end this year. But for this they must bend Celtics, Heat or Hawks in a hypothetical Conference Semifinal almost certainly, to deal with later Bucks or Cavs in a possible Eastern Finals. Big words for two stars who lately have been characterized by collapse due to injuries or performance at the most critical moment of the route.
Embiid has played injured in two of the last three editions of the Playoffs, while Harden dropped his scoring contribution by 3.8 points and his assists by 1.6 in the postseason compared to the regular season between 2021 and 2022.
The doubts with both are there, but there’s no doubt that these Sixers and this particular pair have virtually nothing to do with him nearly blowing a 3-0 lead against the Raptors last year.
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The defense, the big concern of the Sixers
In the last five years it has become commonplace for a team with a defending inside top 10 efficiency get in the NBA Finals. The clearest example occurred last year when the Celtics and Warriors were the main players in the race for the ring after finishing in first and second place, respectively. In fact, you should go back 2020 with his 12th place Miami Heat to find the first finalist outside the top 10, with the asterisk supposed to be these Playoffs.
In this 2022-2023 defense data received Philadelphia 76ers must be examined Magnifier. Yes, they are in sixth place (112.1), but since the start of the new year they are in 17th place (115.2). A difference in numbers related to the defensive performance of the second unit, 9th worst in the NBA defensively.
Without an elite defense it is impossible to win today. In favor of the Sixers is the fact that they have specialists such as PJ Tucker, De’Anthony Melton, Jalen McDaniels or Embiid himselfbut also high minute holes like Harden, Milton or Harrell.
The nail they hold from Philadelphia lies in the defensive performance of their core quintet, consisting of Embiid, Tucker, Harris, Harden and Maxey, who is second better with at least 300 minutes. Ahead of the Warriors champions line-up with Wiggins replacing Poole:
|1||warriors||Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Green and Looney Tunes||106.1|
|2||76 year olds||Embiid, Tucker, Harris, Harden and Maxey||107|
|3||hawks||Capela, Collins, Hunter, Murray and Young||108.8|
|4||bulls||Vucevic, Williams, DeRozan, LaVine and Dosunmu||109.6|
|5||Nuggets||Jokic, Gordon, Caldwell-Pope, Brown and Murray||109.9|
With the work at stake in his case Sixersits ever-closer beginning Playoffs 2023 it presents itself as a unique opportunity to show that they are title contenders rather than contenders.
The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the NBA or its organizations.