Top storylines over the Sixers’ last ten games

Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

The last ten games of the NBA regular season can feel meaningless. For a contender like the Sixers, the real season starts in the playoffs. Despite the growing excitement for what should be an amazing playoffs, there are still plenty of reasons to watch the rest of the regular season. Let’s take a look at some of the top storylines for the final ten games of the Sixers‘ regular season.

Sixers’ race for the top seed in the East

As of April 29, the Sixers are one game behind the Nets and 2.5 games ahead of the Bucks. The Sixers hold the tiebreaker against the Nets but do not against the Bucks. Basketball Reference currently gives the Sixers a 58 percent chance to get the top seed in the conference, so the East’s best record is still available despite the team’s recent slide. Between home-court advantage and an easier path to the finals, getting the number one seed should be a huge priority.

The health of the Sixers’ big three

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris have all missed games over the past few weeks for a variety of reasons. While none of these absences have been due to major injuries, the health of the big three will be worth monitoring. The Sixers need all three stars healthy and playing at a high level to truly contend.

Joel Embiid’s MVP case

Due to the Sixers’ recent woes and Embiid missing more time, winning the MVP is looking like a long shot for Embiid. Everything would have to go perfect for Embiid to actually win the award, but the road map is there.

First, Embiid would need to play the remainder of the season and have a few iconic games. Second, the Sixers would need to go on a tear, winning at least eight of their next ten and locking up the top seed in the East. Third, MVP-favorite Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets would have to struggle over their last ten games.

All three events happening is unlikely, but Sixers’ fans should still hope they come true.

Doc Rivers’ rotation

The starting five is pretty set at this point, and George Hill, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, and Dwight Howard round out the bench. Can all ten core players get decent minutes in the playoffs? If not, who drops out? Also, does Tyrese Maxey’s improved play as of late earn him spot minutes? Does Mike Scott still have a role on this team?

These are the questions that Doc Rivers will need to answer over the next couple of weeks.

Shake Milton’s groove

Milton has had an up-and-down season, to say the least. Shake looked like an early sixth man of the year candidate before getting hurt. Since returning, Milton seems to alternate between cold spells and hot streaks every few games. Shake’s scoring punch will be desperately needed against good defenses in the playoffs, so his last ten games are worth monitoring.

Matisse Thybulle’s offense

Thybulle is still a work in progress on offense, but there have been small signs of improvement. The defensive stud looks a bit more confident on the ball and has been more aggressive attacking closeouts as of late. Thybulle’s defense has been otherworldly and will be much needed in the playoffs, but can he hang on offense if he continues to shoot only 30.7 percent from 3? A hot streak from deep over the last ten games would do wonders for his playoff outlook.

Tyrese Maxey’s progression

After a fast start to the season, Maxey fell out of the rotation. In a 37-game stretch from late January to mid-April, Maxey only played 10.2 minutes per game and missed eight games, some of which were healthy scratches. However, in his last six games, Maxey has played over 19 minutes per game and is playing nearly as well as his early-season stretch. The promising rookie may not play much in the playoffs, but his progression over the next few seasons will be exciting.

Chemistry on the Sixers’ bench

The starters have played significant minutes together, but the bench has not had much time to gel. This is especially true for Hill, who has shown flashes during his time with the Sixers but is still working his way back from injury. In particular, Hill needs to work on his chemistry with Dwight in the pick-and-roll. Hill has thrown a few lobs to Howard that have been close but the timing has been slightly off, something that should get better over the last ten games of the season.

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