The 76ers
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The 76ers Have Plenty to Prove As They Head Into The 2021 Playoffs

With only 20 games left in this condensed 72 game season, the Philadelphia 76ers have taken control of the #1 seed in the Eastern conference after their win in Brooklyn this past Wednesday. The 76ers won 123-117 in a game that honestly should not have been close as the Nets were missing multiple starters such as Kevin Durant, James Harden, Blake Griffin, and recently retired LaMarcus Aldridge. After watching the 76ers struggle with the Net’s B team it’s clear that even after their great season, they still have plenty to prove as they head into the 2021 Playoffs.

Joel Embiid has been awesome averaging 29.8 PPG,11 RPG, and 3.1APG while also leading the league in PER this year and would have a strong case to be MVP if his availability wasn’t in question every night. But when Embiid plays he has shown he isn’t lacking any motivation to dominate the league’s top centers every night. In Joel Embiid’s case, he has little to prove to everyone beyond how well his body will hold up down the stretch. Last year’s playoffs were a mess for the 76ers, due to injury and poor coaching. This season they’re healthy and looking to make their first conference finals appearance in the Joel and Ben era but for the rest of the other key players and personnel on the 76ers, there are a few looming questions and concerns.

Has Doc Rivers Truly Improved The Offense

Under Doc, the team has a higher offensive rating than they’ve ever had under Brett and is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive side of the ball ranking 2nd in the entire league. Doc Rivers will also be looking to navigate this team further in the playoffs than he has ever gotten with the Los Angles Clippers. A conference final’s appearance would be huge for Doc and the 76ers and hopefully, he is the right coach to lead them there. But right now I can’t help but think there are a few things he could change to increase their chances.

Al Horford was sent to Oklahoma City after it was shown that he was a terrible fit on the 76ers and in return they received Danny green. Along with Green they also traded for one of the best three-point shooters in the league, Seth Curry, and retained Furkan Korkmaz and Tobias Harris. In theory, with the name’s listed this should be an above-average three-point shooting team but this season they rank 27th in attempts and 14th in percentage as a team.

While the amount of three’s taken by a team doesn’t directly correlate to wins both the Nets and Bucks, who are the 76ers main threats, take and make them at a higher rate which could spell trouble in a playoff series. Beyond the lack of Three-point shooting, the team has struggled in a majority of their lineups without Embiid on the court. Over-reliance on one player is not the key to success deep in the postseason. Doc has gotten a lot out of the team in his first year but there are still some concerns that the full potential of this roster has not been tapped.

What Will Player’s Outside Of Embiid Bring In The Playoff’s

Embiid is almost guaranteed to put up the monstrous number’s in the playoffs the other player’s on the 76ers still have a lot to prove in regards to what they will bring. One of those players being Tobias Harris who shot a horrific 13% from three on 3.8 3PA. This year he is having one of the best seasons of his career almost qualifying for the 50-40-90 club and averaging over 20 points per game. Tobias felt like he was An All-Star snub this season and hopefully, that will fuel him to take his game to new heights in the playoff instead of Historic lows like last season. The 76ers are depending on him to make big play’s when it counts and he will need to prove he can take on that responsibility.

The Team is also going to need more from Ben Simmons a his refusal to flat-out shoot the ball from anywhere beyond within 10 ft of the basket has shown to be damaging for the 76ers on offense especially in late-game situations. Ben has yet to evolve on offense since his rookie year and he will need to prove that he is not a liability on that end. Last year he missed the playoff due to a kneecap injury. But in the previous season, we saw him only attempt 5 shot’s in a pivotal game seven defeat versus Toronto. Ben needs to be more aggressive with scoring if the 76ers have any chance in a potential matchup versus one of the greatest offensive teams in history, The Brooklyn Nets.

The 76er’s have enough talent on the roster to make a run at an NBA championship but they also still have plenty to prove regardless of their record as they head into the playoffs.