After falling to the eventual NBA Champion Toronto Raptors in the second round in the 2018-2019 Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Philadelphia 76ers were expecting big things in 2019-2020. However, a third-place finish and first round playoff exit prompted changes, mainly the firing of head coach Brett Brown.
Along comes Doc Rivers to take over the reins and new president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and immediate changes to philosophy and roster began. In comes Seth Curry and Danny Green to add to the much needed three-point shooting and veteran center Dwight Howard to give the 76ers a legitimate backup and leadership behind Joel Embiid that outgoing Al Horford didn’t bring last season.
Now after six games, the 76ers have the best record in the NBA. They beat the Raptors, Magic and Hornets this week in blowout fashion and the defense has been rock solid all season. Embiid is playing at an MVP level, averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds per game. Tobias Harris has been hot, averaging 23 points per game this week. Ben Simmons is showing an all-around game and Seth Curry has been red-hot from beyond the arc.
This 76ers team has something that the last few season’s teams didn’t have, which is depth. Shake Milton, Howard, Matisse Thybulle, rookie Tyrese Maxey, Mike Scott and long-range threat Furkan Korkmaz provide a solid 11 that the 76ers can use at any time during the course of the game.
In addition, Embiid appears to be in the best shape of his career. An extra year of experience and maturity for him and Simmons adds to the woes of opponents. Embiid has already shown that he is capable of carrying a team on his back. The scary part for the rest of the Eastern Conference is that the 76ers are still learning a new system and haven’t reached their potential offensively. If that happens, the path to the NBA Finals in the Eastern Conference will go through Philadelphia.