As the calendar turns to November and the NBA season gets underway, there have been a lot of surprises and some disappointments. One thing so far that gone right, at least in Philadelphia: the 76ers are as good as advertised.
Entering play Monday, the Sixers were the only team undefeated at 5-0 (now 5-1).
The new lineup has managed to gel and looks very impressive.
The NBA has shifted from single superstars playing with supporting casts to “supergroups”. Right now, the Warriors will have to do without their lead man with Steph Curry breaking his hand.
NBA 76ers #1 On Power Rankings
The Sixers have added to their Process lineup of Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid with Josh Richardson in the backcourt and pairing Al Horford with his longtime nemesis in the frontcourt. This lineup has managed to start the season no worse than fourth in the league in five categories.
The Sixers lead the NBA in steals per game, tied for second in blocks, third in assists, and fourth in rebounds.
Philly entered the season as favorites to win the Atlantic and on the shortlist to win the title in June. Their odds have dropped slightly at the major NJ online sportsbooks.
The Sixers won the first of two games of Embiid’s suspension with a thrilling comeback in Portland. Normally, the team would’ve folded and taken the L. For the first time since the team became actually good, Brett Brown has relied more on his bench.
James Ennis and Mike Scott have increased their workload from previous seasons. The team drafted Matisse Thybulle and he has done very well in his first NBA action.
As an aside, I found the decision to eject and suspend Embiid and Karl Anthony-Towns for that fight. I had that game on and switched to Game 7 of the World Series at halftime. I watched about an inning and turned the game on after the fracas.
I’m old enough to remember when guys like Rick Mahorn and Anthony Mason would do that and have it not escalate into league discipline. The game was becoming a runaway and leaped directly to unwatchable.
That is NOT what the NBA should be doing when two young stars are going up against a winner-take-all final for a rival league.
The Sixers will likely dominate their schedule this month and build their division lead.
If they keep rolling, they could put some distance between themselves and Milwaukee for the top spot in the East.
Christmas Day, they’ll face the Bucks in a can’t-miss game, unless of course, the Association decides to throw out JoJo and the Greek Freak for another brouhaha.