Sixers Stars Eager to Lead Team to NBA Championship

Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid

Getty Joel Embiid #21 and James Harden #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrate.

When the Philadelphia 76ers traded for James Harden at last year’s trade deadline, they did so with the intent of increasing their championship odds. Bringing in an All-Star and former MVP gave Joel Embiid and legitimate second option as he heads into the prime of his career.

Despite their little time together, Embiid and Harden quickly proved to be one of the league’s top pairings. Last season, Embiid and Harden combined to average 51.6 PPG, 18.8 RPG, and 14.7 APG.

During a recent interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Harden opened up on the relationship he has with his new All-Star teammate. He said he and Embiid talk frequently and are eager to lead the Sixers to an NBA championship. 

I talk with Joel frequently and we have meetings about how we’re going to play and what we need to do to help our team win a championship, Harden told Yahoo Sports. When you have two of the top players at their positions on the same team, that’s a great building block. We’re going to grow together and try to lead this team to the top. I believe we can do it together.

James Harden Impressed by Sixers Newfound Depth

It has been a busy offseason for the Sixers, in more ways than one. Since their exit from the postseason, Daryl Morey has been hard at work retooling the roster to better complement the team’s new star duo.

The first shift came on draft night when the Sixers parted ways with veteran Danny Green in exchange for Memphis Grizzlies guard De’Anthony Melton. Morey then went back to work during the start of free agency to strengthen a key weak point for the Sixers.

Once free agency officially went underway, Morey quickly signed veterans P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr. to multi-year deals. He also picked up reigning G-League MVP Trevelin Queen on a two-way contract.

Thanks to this array of moves, the Sixers are stocked up on shooting and defense. While speaking with Haynes, Harden mentioned the depth now is a glaring difference compared to last season.

I think we have a much deeper team, Harden told Yahoo Sports. That’s something we wanted to address. If you look at our team now, we’re positioned to go a lot further. I like how we stack up with the rest of the top teams.

Joel Embiid Lands in 1B Tier of The Athletic’s Player Rankings

Recently, the people over at The Athletic began ranking the top 125 players in the NBA right now. As the runner-up for the MVP, Joel Embiid finds himself near the top of the list. However, the All-Star center lands in the 1B tier next to Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic.

The 1A tier consists of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Nikola Jokic. While he missed the cut this time around, Seth Partnow admitted Embiid is close to being put among the league’s top talents.

I will say that if Embiid at least duplicates last season’s minutes load, efficiency and availability – he missed a career-low four games to injury with his other absences being either COVID-19-related or due to resting the final game of the regular season – it would take a particularly disastrous to keep him out of Tier 1A.

Last season, Embiid averaged 30.6 PPG, 11.7 RPG, and 4.2 APG while also being the first center since Shaq to take home the NBA’s scoring title.

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