On Sunday night, the 2020 NBA season down in the Orlando bubble concluded with the Los Angeles Lakers hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy. On Monday, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley decided to put together a way-too-early list of power rankings as we finally embark on the 2020-2021 NBA offseason.
Seeing as though the Sixers were nothing short of a major disappointment this past season, we shouldn’t necessarily expect a major jump in the ranks. Although they started off the 2019-2020 NBA season hot, Philly quickly cooled down and found themselves becoming the sixth seed of the Eastern Conference, gearing up to face the third-seeded Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite defeating the Celtics three out of four times during the regular season, the Sixers weren’t prepared to have similar results down in the bubble. The 76ers and the Celtics faced each other four times, and Boston won every time, sending the Sixers home early and forcing them to fire head coach Brett Brown. Now that we’re heading into a new season, where do the Sixers place in the early power rankings?
9. Philadelphia 76ers
“We all know Embiid and Simmons are awkward fits for each other. We don’t know how this roster will respond to Rivers’ hiring. And we can all see that Brand’s vision for jumbo-ball never came together.
Embiid and Simmons might each hold a spot in the Association’s top 10 players, certainly in the top 15. That matters. Even if Tobias Harris and Al Horford are overpaid, they can still play. That matters, too.
There’s a reality in which Rivers connects all the dots, and one where he’s trying to assemble parts of five different puzzles that all look really cool, but they just don’t fit together. Ranking both extremes together is tricky, so—big shrug—ninth it is?”
For the 76ers, ninth isn’t bad. As mentioned before, the 76ers disappointed big time during the 2019-2020 season. While they have talent on board, the front office built an awkward-fitting roster and employed a coach who couldn’t make the most out of it.
The hiring of Doc Rivers offers promise, but he doesn’t solve all of the team’s problems. Therefore, the Sixers will have to move some pieces around ahead of the 2020-2021 season to make this all work.
Rivers’ leadership could help the Sixers compete better with some of the other top Eastern Conference organizations such as the Miami Heat (No. 7), Brooklyn Nets (No. 6), Boston Celtics (No. 5), and the Milwaukee Bucks (No. 2). However, Philly’s front office needs to fix the issues they created during the last offseason first.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_