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Philadelphia 76ers: 4 bold predictions for the 2021-22 NBA season

76ers, 76ers predictions, 76ers outlook, 76ers season, Joel Embiid

The NBA regular season is officially upon us. Wednesday night, the Philadelphia 76ers will start their campaign on the road in a matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans. Before the action tips off, here are four bold predictions for the Sixers this season. 

1) The 76ers will have one of the NBA’s top bench units 

Although the 76ers made small moves in free agency, their roster has still been upgraded. Bringing in veterans like Andre Drummond and Georges Niang already appear to be improvements to Doc Rivers’ second unit.

One of the biggest takeaways from the preseason is how well the second unit has looked when on the floor together. The lineup has an improved fit and more than holds its own on both ends of the floor.

Between young players like Tyrese Maxey and Isaiah Joe taking a step and the new additions, Rivers will have a lot of firepower off his bench throughout the regular season. If the second unit can continue to build on how well they’ve played so far, there is a possibility the Sixers have one of the best bench units in the entire league.

2) Tobias Harris gets his first All-Star selection 

Outside of Joel Embiid playing at an MVP level, Tobias Harris’ game taking a step forward was one of the key bright spots for the Sixers last season. The 28-year-old averaged close to 20 points per game and fell just short of entering the illustrious 50/40/90 club.

Many felt Harris was an All-Star snub, but that will not be the case this season. In his 11th season as a pro, the Sixers’ forward will finally get his due.

With the Ben Simmons situation still a mystery, there’s no telling if he ever decides to suit up in a game. The former number one pick has been a mainstay on recent All-Star teams, but that might not be the case in 2022.

A lot of things will have to fall the Sixers’ way, but there is a reality where Harris adds an All-Star selection to his resume. If the 76ers remain atop the Eastern Conference, and he plays at the level he did last season or better, Harris will have a strong case to be selected this time around.

3) The 76ers remain a top-three seed in the East 

Outside of the 2019-2020 season, the 76ers have been atop the conference standings come playoff time since the dawn of the Embiid/Simmons era. Even with the uncertainty of Simmons playing in games until he’s traded, they will still be a top-three seed this upcoming season.

The biggest factor that will keep them near the top of the standings is their franchise cornerstone. Embiid was arguably the most dominant player in the regular season last year and will be looking to carry that into this season.

Along with Embiid, the Sixers still have a strong supporting cast. Players like Harris, Seth Curry, Maxey, Shake Milton, and Danny Green can all contribute on a nightly basis.

The roster Doc Rivers has at his disposal is loaded with more than enough playable guys to win a lot of games in the regular season, with or without Simmons.

4) A surprise team acquires Ben Simmons by the trade deadline 

The biggest 76ers storyline since their playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks has been what is going to happen with Ben Simmons. Despite the 25-year-old formally requesting a trade, he still remains on the roster at the start of the regular season.

Daryl Morey has made it clear he is not trading Simmons just for the sake of doing so. Unless a deal comes along that puts the 7e6rs in a better position to compete for a title, he will remain patient.

Throughout this saga, a similar group of teams has come up in rumors about being interested in acquiring the three-time All-Star. But in the end, it will be a surprise team that pulls off a trade before the trade deadline.

There is no telling when this will all end, but the trade deadline could be when a final decision is made.

Simmons has not helped his cause acting the way he has in recent months, but a team looking to make a push will eventually swing a deal and take a chance on his potential.