Bold 76ers predictions for 2022-23 NBA season: Joel Embiid wins MVP, Tyrese Maxey makes first All-Star team

After an underwhelming conclusion to their 2021-22 marketing campaign that noticed them once more fail to advance previous the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Philadelphia 76ers retooled over the offseason and now they will once more enter the brand new yr with championship aspirations. In addition to bringing again James Harden, the Sixers additionally made a number of different offseason additions to their roster together with PJ Tucker, Danuel House, De’Anthony Melton and Montrezl Harrell.

Now, the new-look Sixers will look to advance to the convention finals, no less than, for the first time since 2001. If issues go properly for the Sixers, the marketing campaign might show to be a memorable one. With that mentioned, here is a have a look at 4 daring predictions for the ’22-23 season. (Remember, these are daring predictions, so do not yell at me if some, or all, of them fail to come back to fruition).

Joel Embiid completed second in MVP voting to Denver Nuggets heart Nikola Jokic in every of the previous two seasons, however maybe this season will lastly be Embiid’s time to assert the league’s highest particular person accolade for himself. Jokic was a worthy winner, however Embiid has clearly been dominant sufficient to win the award. Last season, he grew to become the first heart to steer the league in scoring since Shaquille O’Neal, and the first to common 30-plus factors per efficiency since Moses Malone. He additionally performed in a career-high 68 video games, which is extraordinarily necessary, as sturdiness has been a problem for him prior to now, particularly with regards to successful the MVP award.

As lengthy as Embiid is wholesome, he may be anticipated to place up dominant numbers like he has over the previous couple of seasons, and that may once more have him proper within the thick of the MVP dialog. Perhaps the truth that Embiid got here so near successful the previous couple of years shall be an element within the minds of some voters. Plus, historical past is on Embiid’s aspect. Only two gamers in NBA historical past (Jerry West, George Gervin) have completed second in MVP voting greater than as soon as and never finally gained the award.

Tyrese Maxey makes first All-Star team

I lately compiled an inventory of 5 gamers poised to probably make their first All-Star team in 2023. Sixers third-year guard Tyrese Maxey was on that record, and with good purpose. After receiving inconsistent taking part in time throughout his rookie season, Maxey took over the start line guard spot in Ben Simmons’ absence final season, and he by no means regarded again — even after James Harden was added to Philadelphia’s roster. His numbers swelled together with his elevated function, and he rapidly established himself as an integral a part of Philadelphia’s offensive assault.

From his first to his second season, Maxey’s scoring jumped from eight to 17.5 factors per recreation, and his assists doubled from two to 4.3. Most impressively, his 3-point capturing skyrocketed from 30 p.c as a rookie to 42 p.c final season. This enchancment helped to solidify him as a wonderful complement to All-Star heart Joel Embiid, and his capacity to play each on and off the ball ought to enormously assist his match alongside Harden in Philadelphia’s backcourt transferring ahead. Maxey has an unrelenting work ethic, and if he continues to develop there’ll probably be a number of All-Star picks in his future.

It stays to be seen simply how far more of a bounce Maxey will have the ability to make whereas taking part in alongside Embiid and Harden, but it surely definitely sounds just like the Sixers expect huge issues from him.

“The largest inflection level is, in all probability, we’d like Maxey to take one other step ahead,” Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey mentioned lately of the upcoming season. “And he can do it. He’s placing the work in… His rookie yr was approach forward of schedule. His second yr was approach, approach forward of schedule, and to ask him to do one other leap ahead is asking quite a bit, however we do want it. I would not be stunned if he does it given how a lot time he places in.”

James Harden leads the league in assists

This prediction won’t even be that daring contemplating the truth that Harden completed second in assists per recreation final season although he was traded midseason. Chris Paul was the one participant that averaged extra assists per recreation than Harden final season, and he solely bested Harden by .5 (10.8 in comparison with 10.3). Paul and Harden have been the one two gamers within the league to common double-digit assists, and the Sixers added extra threats for Harden to drop dimes over the offseason. In PJ Tucker and Danuel House, they added two floor-spacers that Harden already has familiarity with from his days in Houston.

Those two will probably get ample open alternatives due to Harden’s capacity to penetrate the protection after which spray the ball again out to the perimeter. Similarly, the Sixers additionally added Montrezl Harrell, who Harden performed with from 2015 to 2017 in Houston. Harrell is a strong pick-and-roll companion for Harden, and can probably be on the receiving finish of his fair proportion of Harden assists. If Harden leads the league in assists this season, it will not be the first time. He additionally completed the feat through the 2016-17 season.

76ers get prime seed within the Eastern Conference

The Sixers have completed with the most effective file within the Eastern Conference 5 instances prior to now. Most lately, they completed with the highest seed within the convention after the 2020-21 season. This season might be the sixth time. Last season, the Sixers completed fourth, however they have been simply two video games behind the top-seeded Heat, and so they seem to have improved over the offseason. The additions of fellows like Tucker, House, Harrell and De’Anthony Melton have made the Sixers deeper, and that ought to show useful over the course of an 82-game common season schedule.

Plus, Maxey’s continued improvement offers a purpose for optimism with regards to how the team will carry out through the season. Ultimately, securing the highest seed is barely necessary if a team is ready to capitalize on the place and advance deep into the postseason. We noticed two seasons in the past that the highest seed did not matter a lot when the Sixers collapsed in opposition to the Atlanta Hawks at house within the second spherical. Still although, securing a homecourt benefit by means of the convention finals is price pursuing, and attainable for Philadelphia.

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