By Michael Doctorovitz, Sports Talk Philly Staff
Since 2017, the Sixers have been a regular in the NBA playoffs but haven't had much success in the postseason. After being the top seed in the Eastern Conference last season for the first time in two decades, the team's championship window seemed to be wide open. After a playoff collapse and a very shaky offseason the Sixers find themselves currently sitting at sixth in the conference. The East is a tight race this year though. Although the team is sixth in the conference, they are only 2.5 games back from the top seed, Chicago Bulls.
With the amount of star power on teams such as the Bulls, Nets, Warriors, Heat, Suns, etc. it will be hard for the team to compete for a championship currently without making any big moves soon. However, the championship window remains cracked open for one reason: Joel Embiid. Embiid is the driving force for this team, arguably the best center in basketball and, at times, can perform like the best basketball player on the planet. This current Sixers roster is good but cannot compete in a seven game series with any of the aforementioned teams.
Most of the top teams in the league have at least an All-Star duo and a rising star to go along with them. The Sixers currently have one All-Star in Embiid and a rising star in Tyrese Maxey. With Ben Simmons out of the picture and willing to sit out the entire year, if he's not traded by the February 10th deadline, the Sixers need to make a trade for another star to pair with Embiid if they want to continue to compete.
According to Marc Stein, Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden has recently expressed his openness to playing elsewhere. Harden and Sixers president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, were together in Houston and the Sixers have been connected to the Harden trade rumors ever since Morey came on board. A trade scenario for Harden, where the Sixers don't have to give up Maxey, is exactly the type of win now trade they would need to make in order to continue competing for a championship.
“It must be noted that there is enough noise circulating leaguewide about Harden's reported openness to relocation this summer” 👀— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 17, 2022
- @TheSteinLine on James Harden
(Via https://t.co/TdawS5h82n) pic.twitter.com/E60G5VJZct
Vegas oddsmakers currently have the Sixers at +2500 to win the 2022 NBA Finals, that is ninth overall in the league and fourth in their respective conference. The Sixers entered the season at +1600 to win the NBA Finals, at the time those odds were seventh best in the league. For the Sixers to get back on track and into true contender form they need to change some things up on their current roster and hope that their squad can get healthy at the right times as Embiid continues to pave the way and play at an MVP type level.