76ers regular season review and playoff matchup

The Sixers are currently playing the Celtics in the semifinals.  Along with winning the first game of the series, Joel Embiid won MVP for the season.

The Sixers are currently playing the Celtics in the semifinals. Along with winning the first game of the series, Joel Embiid won MVP for the season.

The Philadelphia 76ers haven’t missed the playoffs since 2017, but haven’t been in the NBA finals since 2001. This comes as a shock to most Philadelphia fans as it seems that they have the talent to go the distance.

Their closest time to making it to the finals in the past 6 years came in 2019, when they battled to a game 7 with the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals, but ultimately lost on a game winning shot by Kawhi Leonard.

So there is no question on whether or not the 76ers have the talent to make it to the finals, considering they’ve added pieces since that time. The man they have built around is Joel Embiid, a 6-time all star, and currently the favorite to win the MVP award. He has been with the 76ers for his entire career. (9 years)

Some of the other key players consist of 10-time all-star James Harden and a young standout in Tyrese Maxey. The trio of Embiid, Harden, and Maxey has created matchup problems for teams all over the league.

“I really have high expectations for this team. We have the MVP of the league (Embiid) on the team, and they are currently all healthy. If everybody stays healthy, I think they have a really good chance to go all the way,” said long-time 76ers fan junior Austin Zolnierz.

Despite dealing with some injuries this year, the 76ers finished 54-28, placing them at 3rd in the Eastern Conference. 

The trio combined for an average of 74.4 points per game. (Embiid: 33.1 ppg, Harden: 21.0 ppg, Maxey: 20.3 ppg) Harden also added in 10.7 assists per game, and Embiid won the scoring-title. 

“Besides Embiid, Maxey plays a pivotal role in really anchoring down this offense and pushing for a deep postseason run. You can count on Embiid and Harden to get theirs, but Maxey needs to be in his bag like the fries at the bottom to really make some noise this postseason,” said avid 76ers fan junior Rudra Thakkar.

This 3rd place seeding has set them up to play the Brooklyn Nets, who are seeded 6th in the Eastern Conference, with a regular-season record of 45-37. 

The 76ers matchup very well against the Nets, who lost both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving during the season, who were the stars of the team. Both combined for an average of 56.8 points per game. 

In return from the Kevin Durant trade, the Nets received Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson from Phoenix along with first-round draft picks and the right to swap another first-round pick. From the Kyrie Irving trade, The Nets receive Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and future Draft picks in the deal.

This has changed the team significantly, which will most likely benefit the team in the long run, but as far as playoffs are concerned, hurts them.

“I feel like this first round matchup against the Nets is perfect because they had a close matchup against them last year,” said sophomore Carter Bidwell.

It has been a long time since the 76ers won the NBA Finals, dating back to 1983, which was 40 years ago. Needless to say, Philadelphia fans have been wanting this title for a long time. 

“I feel like this is a great opportunity for Embiid to earn his first ring, I think if they play to their fullest potential they will be able to win a championship,” said Bidwell.

All in all, the Philadelphia 76ers have a good shot at winning the Finals, and fans agree.