The Philadelphia 76ers have been in the conversation of teams to contend for a championship for the past few years. Their title odds skyrocketed at the trade deadline when Daryl Morey pulled off a deal to acquire James Harden in exchange for a package centered around Ben Simmons.
As expected, the addition of Harden has done wonders for the Sixers’ lineup. His playmaking continues to elevate role players like Matisse Thybulle and Georges Niang, while his scoring punch provides a legitimate second option alongside MVP frontrunner Joel Embiid.
Now that the new-look Sixers have played a handful of games, there is a large enough sample to gauge their performance. While there have been some highs, it’s clear this group is still a work in progress as they prep for the postseason. Recently, Philadelphia has started to evoke a certain Sixers team from a few years back.
During the 2018-19 season, Elton Brand made multiple big splashes in his first year as Sixers GM. The first was trading for a disgruntled Jimmy Butler in the opening weeks of the season, followed by Philadelphia’s mega-deal for Tobias Harris at the trade deadline. In its final iteration, many agreed Philly’s new starting five—consisting of Simmons, JJ Redick, Butler, Harris and Embiid—had a case as the best in basketball.