We are now a little over 30 percent of the way through the regular season, and things have not been easy for the Philadelphia 76ers. To put it nicely, things have been a rollercoaster ride. As it currently stands, the Sixers sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 14-12.
Typically, this is a point in the season where a team can gauge itself. Unfortunately for the Sixers, that is not the case. Before their matchup with the Utah Jazz last Thursday, coach Doc Rivers touched on why he feels the team can't be properly measured right now.
“I don't know where we're at. We're in a good place. I like our team. We're still coming out of all the injuries and just trying to find our rhythm. Nothing has changed with our goals or anything like that. When y0u consider the injuries, and I count COVID as injuries because it's easier, I like where we're at, so I'm happy,” said Rivers.
Following their blowout loss to the Jazz, Joel Embiid opened up on how the Sixers are still a work in progress.
“For sure, I mentioned it after the game in Charlotte. We got a lot of work to do, offensively and defensively,” Embiid said.
The All-Star big man later mentioned they don't shoot enough from beyond the arc, something he has touched on regularly over the last couple of seasons.
For multiple reasons, there is no definitive answer as to what the ceiling of the team is. On one hand, the Sixers were atop the Eastern Conference and had the league's best offense in the opening weeks. Then things spiraled out of control when a third of the roster was out with injury or because of COVID-19 protocols. Until the roster is fully healthy and has a long stretch under its belt, there is no telling how good the Sixers can be.
The Ben Simmons saga is the other glaring factor as to why the Sixers cannot be properly measured. With a possible trade looming, it is safe to assume the squad is not in its final iteration. When and who Daryl Morey gets in return for the disgruntled All-Star will play a significant role in the team's ceiling.
Sometimes, things just need to be chalked up to circumstance. The Sixers would love to be able to properly assess their situation, but that simply isn't the case. The NBA season is a marathon. They just have to keep rolling along.
Even with how things have played out, Rivers is not insane to feel okay with where the team is at. At the end of the day, the Sixers have shown that when healthy, they can compete with just about anyone. Not to mention Embiid is still a top-10 player in the NBA and is doing all he can to lead the charge.
There is no denying the Sixers still have their flaws. But at this point in the season, they still have loads of time to adjust and prepare for the road ahead.