The Sixers are on quite a roll. They have won 9 of 10, and have barely lost any games since the new year. Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey are all playing at high levels. Everything seems to be working. Still, Sixers fans have seen great teams before. We have been super confident heading into the playoffs, and every year it ends in the 2nd round. So what makes this year different? Rich Hofmann from The Athletic joined us to address that very question. And for him, it all starts with how great this offense is.
“The reason why it looks different is that this team’s offense right now is completely overwhelming. I think they are up to number 3 right now on the season. If you look at the past month, they are the best by a mile… That is what is different. Those past teams… had Ben Simmons. And there was a ceiling to how good those teams could be offensively. There is no ceiling to this team’s offense. They are absolutely dominant. It is just wild how well Embiid is playing. So unbelievably effortless… You have Harden playing at an incredible level. Maxey is going right now. This team’s offense is better than it has ever been. In those Ben Simmons years, you are talking about the 7th or 8th best offense. They are the best offense in the league right now.”
And Rich Hofmann also addressed the great MVP debate. Will this be the year Embiid finally breaks through? Rich Hofmann thinks so…
“I think so. We will find out when the straw poll comes out on ESPN. Reading the tea leaves, and consuming as much national media as I do… Jokic had a rough couple of weeks here. His team keeps losing, and his defense is starting to be more under the spotlight. At that same time, Embiid is running off these 35-point games, and the Sixers are at 9-1 in March. I do think he is a favorite right now. I don’t think he has wrapped it up at this point… But if I had to case, if there was a vote today, Joel would actually get it. And I think he deserves it too.”
The Sixers find themselves with a narrow lead over Boston for the 2-seed and have the 1-seed and the Bucks in their sights. There are just 12 games left, and the Sixers are playing their best ball at the right time. We will have to wait to see if it is any different this year in the playoffs. But from what we are seeing, there is good reason to be optimistic.