There is a ton of excitement surrounding the 76ers this season, and it comes with good reason. Philadelphia stands at 11-8 on the season after a 113-91 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in their last outing. Yet Philadelphia still owns the best win percentage of the Brett Brown era. They have played the most difficult schedule in the NBA to this point (their opponents’ win percentage has been .536 so far) and have massively improved. With so much drastic change in the past few seasons (from the roster to organizational mentality), are the Sixers finally the real deal? They certainly are! Here’s why:
There are clearly a few elite teams in the NBA: Cleveland, Golden State, San Antonio, Boston, and Houston. So far this season, the Sixers are tied for fifth in the NBA in terms of Rating Percentage Index (RPI), which rates a team’s wins in relation to their strength of schedule. The fact that Philadelphia is a top 10 team in the NBA right now shows that they are on the verge of reaching the upper echelon of NBA teams.
Right now, the team is somewhere in the mix of trying to claw into the second tier of teams at this point, with the likes of Portland, Toronto, Detroit, and Washington. It cannot be denied that the Sixers are close to this tier given they have already beaten Portland, and Joel Embiid embarrassed Andre Drummond in the Sixers win against the Pistons earlier this season.
Many Sixers fans are optimistic that barring a significant catastrophe to the team, Philadelphia will be in the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2012, and Embiid (alongside Ben Simmons) will take them there. As it stands, the 76ers have the 5th best record in the Eastern Conference just a quarter of the way through the season. However, there are some very strong teams behind them.
The Bucks, Wizards, Hornets, and Heat all have worse records than the Sixers at this point of the season, and they all have the potential to catch Philly in the standings. There are 82 games in the NBA season, and so far, it looks like the Sixers have the ability to make a ton of noise in the Eastern Conference if they continue to develop as a team. They might not be elite right now, but they could be very soon.Author: Elijah Tatgenhorst (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)