The Timing May Be Right for Sixers
There are so many factors that will come into play during a season in order for a team to be successful. Health, coaching, attitude, cohesion – all words that are related to a team that exudes success. But one of the keywords I would use this year in describing the good play of the 76ers so far this season is timing. Think about it. Think of many of the things that have gone well for the team this season. It will work itself back to the timing of it all.
James Harden had a strained ligament in his foot early in the season. He was sidelined for a couple of handful of games. The Sixers – pardon the pun – limped out to a 13-12 record. Harden observed what the team was about while in street clothes on the bench. When he returned, he realized exactly how he had to play in order for this team to be better. At times a scorer, at all times a facilitator not only for the league’s leading scorer in Joel Embiid but for Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris and shooters like Georges Niang.
And speaking of Maxey, his play was living up to the high expectations early in the season before he fractured a bone in his foot that caused him to miss more than a month in the season. When he came back, the rust was visible. A probable and expected slump followed. An extraction from the starting lineup wasn’t due to punishment but more of an exercise in finding out how the third-year guard would handle it. The timing was perfect.
The team added a long wing defender midseason in Jalen McDaniels when a long, athletic wing defender was sorely needed. The Montrez Harrell experiment was scratched mid-season because the team was horrific on the defensive end when Joel Embiid was sent to the bench. The timing of it all couldn’t have been better. Paul Reed appears ready now to contribute as a backup who can give the team up to 15 minutes of play.
And the time is now for Embiid. He is playing, by far, the best basketball of his career. The fact that it’s aligned with the addition of James Harden from a year ago is no coincidence. Never in his playing days has Embiid benefitted from a teammate as much as he has by being alongside Harden. And having just celebrated his 29th birthday, the timing couldn’t have
The opening and closing of windows are often discussed when it comes to this Sixers organization. Well, the time is now. That proverbial window has never been more wide open.