These 4 players must step up for the 76ers in Joel Embiid's absence

The Sixers are struggling without their perennial MVP center. These four players can keep the team afloat.

Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid
Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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The Philadelphia 76ers are currently in 5th place in the Eastern Conference with a 35-25 record, and the team is staring at a brutal stretch run without their star Joel Embiid. With Embiid, the Sixers could be a championship contender, but without him, they are in danger of falling out of the playoff picture completely. Since the beginning of February, the team has tallied six wins and eight losses.

That isn’t to say the Sixers are a lost cause without their MVP candidate. Tyrese Maxey has developed into a star in his own right and Tobias Harris is a talented if frustratingly inconsistent player.

If Maxey can take the next step and become a true franchise player in Embiid’s absence and Harris can get himself into a rhythm, this team will be in a much better place. It can’t just be on the shoulders of those two players, though. Other guys need to step up as well.

If the Sixers are going to right the ship and stay afloat in the playoff race until Embiid returns and then make a serious run at a title, these four players need to step up.

Tyrese Maxey

Tyrese Maxey
Tyrese Maxey shooting a layup against two defenders / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Without Joel Embiid on the court, Tyrese Maxey is the most important player for the Philadelphia 76ers. The talented point guard is the engine that makes this team go. As the primary initiator, the responsibility falls on Maxey's shoulders to keep the offense productive and flowing efficiently. He must know when and where to get his teammates the ball in favorable scoring situations, while also knowing when to call his own number.

Maxey is an extremely humble and unselfish player who acknowledges his responsibilities as the team’s point guard and takes accountability for his teammates’ struggles. He recently put the blame on himself for Tobias Harris’ offensive woes, saying that he “has to do a better job of getting him better shots and getting him in better spots to be successful."