It seems each new year brings with it optimism the Philadelphia 76ers will finally live up to the level of talent on their roster and ascend to the top of the NBA.
Even after the Sixers underwhelmed during the 2019-20 regular season, there were those who felt convinced they could contend at the NBA restart in Orlando. But Philly only found more disappointment.
Ben Simmons’ injury all but ended the Sixers’ hopes, as Philadelphia was swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round. After an offseason full of change, the Sixers are fighting to reclaim respect.
Joel Embiid said recently the only way the team can get this respect is by winning:
“It comes down to winning,” Embiid said, via ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “If you don’t win, you don’t get respect. The league doesn’t respect us as much anymore because we didn’t live up to the hype we were on the way to three years ago.”
The Sixers are hoping to build upon that idea of gaining respect to start the 2020-21 season.
Philly has rattled off wins in three of their first four games, including a win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Embiid has been dominant. The All-Star center is averaging 28.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steals through his first three games. More notably, Embiid is shooting 36.4 percent from beyond the arc on 3.7 attempts per game. His ability to be more efficient as an inside-out threat could make Philly that much more dangerous.
Embiid and the Sixers will no longer be satisfied with merely making the playoffs. They hope to win and win a lot.
Philly has an opportunity to defeat the last of the unbeaten teams in the NBA as the Sixers take on the Orlando Magic on Thursday.