Ranking every player on the 76ers roster ahead of 2023 playoffs

P.J. Tucker, James Harden, De'Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
P.J. Tucker, James Harden, De'Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Philadelphia 76ers. Tyrese Maxey. 3. player. 93. . G

A return to the starting five has reinvigorated Tyrese Maxey. Very few NBA players possess Maxey’s body control and touch when moving at full speed. And very few NBA players can touch Maxey’s full speed — he’s an absolute blur attacking off the catch, getting into the paint at will and drowning defenders in an ocean of feather-soft floaters or impossible touch shots off the glass.

Maxey still has room to grow as a self-creator and a creator for others, but he’s perfectly positioned to attack rotating defenders while Embiid and Harden control the offensive tempo. If he can ever progress to full-time point guard and competent defender, the Sixers have a very legitimate third star.

2. player. 93. . G. Philadelphia 76ers. James Harden

James Harden continues to wreck NBA defenses with his mind. He’s one of the foremost basketball geniuses of his generation, a once-in-a-lifetime offensive creator who is adjusting to the next stage of his NBA career with remarkable effectiveness.

No longer the 40-point scorer of old, Harden has bought into his role as the league’s most prolific facilitator. He’s averaging 10.8 dimes per game (first in the NBA), forming an unstoppable pick-and-roll duo with Joel Embiid and frequently setting the table for Philadelphia’s myriad shooters. His ability to manipulate defenders with sly changes in speed and direction, combined with his bull-like strength attacking the cup, keeps Harden quite difficult to contain one-on-one. He has also been an elite spot-up shooter, filling the biggest hole in his offensive repertoire prior to the season.

C. Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid. 1. player. 93.

Joel Embiid is maybe the frontrunner to win MVP, or maybe not. Only time will tell. What is certain, however, is that Embiid is the most dominant scorer in the NBA. He’s operating at an untouchable level right now, obliterating every defender and defense in his path. Players who used to give Embiid trouble aren’t putting a dent in his production. He can will his way to points in the paint, or he can sit back and bury the defense in mid-range jumpers. His footwork, size, and speed combination is one of one.

Then there’s the defensive end, where Embiid has kicked things into high gear lately. When giving full effort, very few NBA defenders are on Embiid’s level. His instincts and recovery speed in the paint are mind-boggling and he’s the kind of rim protector ball-handlers simply avoid challenging. He’s a true two-way superstar.

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