Sixers: 5 bold predictions for 2021-22 season

Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Sixers bold predictions: Top-3 seed

Probably not the boldest take in the world. That said, it does feel like an increasingly rare one. Ben Simmons is a hurricane waiting to happen and the Sixers got booted in the second round, which makes it easy to predict significant regression in the regular season. And sure, to a degree, yes — the Sixers will probably regress. But not by much.

The Sixers will still finish top-3 in the East. A lot of this is riding on Embiid’s health (obviously) and the engagement level of Simmons and his likely successor(s). When healthy, however, Embiid is a truly elite regular season player. We can debate whether his game has held up entirely in the playoffs (it has, for the most part), but when in the regular season, very few players can raise a team’s floor like Embiid. He’s not only a walking top-10 defense, but he’s now an absurdly gifted offensive engine whose sheer dominance elevates the teammates stationed around him.

Embiid will MVP, which will naturally correlate with a strong placement in the Eastern Conference standings. The East did get better this summer, but the Bulls have a glut of new talent to figure out, the Knicks are the Knicks, the Hawks are due for some regular season regression, and the Heat are old. Brooklyn will still have two all-world players even without Kyrie Irving, and the Bucks won the championship for a reason, but the Sixers finishing in the top-3 is wholly within reason.

Let me take this a step further. Ben Simmons will contribute to this top-3 finish. He may not finish the season in Philly (in fact, he probably won’t), but the Sixers will get reasonable contributions from him as previously noted. Harris might not score as much, but he will still be present in the offense. The supporting cast is drastically improved, with Maxey and Joe on the rise, Georges Niang replacing Mike Scott, and Andre Drummond set to fill in whenever Embiid misses time.

The Sixers are good! The vibes aren’t great right now, but give the team a few weeks and some strong victories, and our tune might change.

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