Sixers: 3 players who could have career-best years

De'Anthony Melton, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
De'Anthony Melton, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 3
Philadelphia 76ers
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Sixers enter the 2022-23 with a revamped supporting cast and fewer excuses than ever. Philadelphia has the star power, depth, and flexibility necessary to win a championship. Now, Doc Rivers just has to get his squad over the finish line.

While it’s safe to expect elite production from Joel Embiid and James Harden, the rest of the roster can be more challenging to predict. There’s a unique mix of youth and experience in the second unit. P.J. Tucker is 37 years old with a title under his belt, whereas Paul Reed’s NBA experience virtually boils down to a couple weeks at the end of last season.

If the Sixers are going to win the title — and that’s a huge if — it will take several players performing at the highest level of their career, from the top on down. Here are three players in line for career-best years.

Sixers who could have career-best years: Isaiah Joe

We have been waiting on the Isaiah Joe breakout for two years now. The former second-round pick has always felt like the perfect fit on paper — a supremely confident volume shooter who can defend multiple positions — but the Sixers have never really given him a fair shot. Doc Rivers’ youth aversion won’t suddenly go away, but Joe is entering the final year of his contract. It’s time to see what he can give.

The Sixers’ improved depth does complicate Joe’s situation. Last season, it was borderline indefensible to keep him tethered to the sidelines. This season, we’ll see tenured members of the rotation (Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, even Georges Niang) fighting for minutes. Joe’s path is more obscured than ever, but from the flashes we’ve seen both in the regular season and in Summer League, he has to get his opportunity at some point. Philly always needs volume shooters, and Joe has defensive chops elsewhere unavailable at the tail end of the second unit.

It ultimately come down to consistency. Joe will have to capitalize when (if) he’s ever given the chance to play real minutes. He can’t slip, he can’t run hot-and-cold, or Rivers will move on to other options. There’s too much competent, proven talent in the second unit this season. It’s probably now or never for Joe in Philadelphia, though.