The Philadelphia 76ers certainly did not have an offseason for the ages, but fans and pundits alike unanimously agree that they remain among the most lethal teams in the 2023-24 season, at least on paper. Led by the reigning Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid, they should remain in the running atop the Eastern Conference if everything clicks.
Now, the 76ers currently profile to be a deadly offensive team with Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and James Harden leading a squadron of capable scorers and playmakers on the team. Another year of continuity for the association’s fourth-ranked offense last season should only bolster them in that department, but defense could also very well make the club worth the price of admission.
Why the Philadelphia 76ers can be a defensive juggernaut this season
Philadelphia’s defense was far from shabby last season, ranking ninth in defensive rating. Still, there’s room for improvement, especially with a new head coach manning the sidelines, and allowing a potential overflow in this aspect will only allow the team to gain an edge over their rivals, some of which made notable splashes this summer.
A glance at the 76ers’ roster will quickly provide plenty of tasty morsels even to the untrained eye. First off, Embiid is both the nexus of the team’s offense and defense, and his shot-deterring ability is invaluable. Nick Nurse will undoubtedly follow that design, and the MVP will give him the leeway he needs to be more creative schematically.
Nurse has always preferred to have players malleable enough to handle various defensive MOs, and just like in Toronto, he will have that in Philly.
PJ Tucker, while standing as the league’s second-oldest player, remains a force in one-on-one situations. Tobias Harris has the height and bulk to be a switchable stopper. Paul Reed, who will bag a bigger role this year, is a mobile big man who is comfortable guarding in space. Ditto for Mo Bamba who, while inconsistent, has impeccable timing as a shot-blocker.
Perimeter defense shouldn’t be their waterloo either. New acquisition Patrick Beverley is disruptive to the maximum degree and will have no problems even when latched onto much bigger players. De’Anthony Melton can guard most, if not all guards and forwards. The returning Danny Green has long been one of the better shot-blocking wings in the league and brings defensive IQ tantamount to three championships.
Oh, and we can’t forget about Jaden Springer, who has already been making waves on social media for his defensive chutzpah.
Clearly, the Philadelphia 76ers have a litany of strong defenders in addition to lethal scorers. Hopefully, that, combined with Nick Nurse’s ingenuity with the X’s and O’s, can give the team that much-needed stead to aid them in their championship quest.