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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Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris, Luka Doncic
Tobias Harris shooting a contested jumper / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Speaking of Tobias Harris, the veteran guard is an important player on Philadelphia’s roster and he needs to get out of his slump. It’s unfair to blame Harris for the contract he was given, and it isn’t his fault that he is being paid as a superstar when he isn’t capable of consistently playing at that level. The ideal role for Harris is a third or fourth option offensively who can pick and choose his spots to score efficiently when the ball comes his way.

When Harris is at his best, he is money in the midrange, where he can use his above-average combination of size and speed to hunt mismatches. As Maxey and head coach Nick Nurse said after a recent game, it is their responsibility to help Harris get going. There are a few ways for the team to help the veteran jumpstart his game, but Harris must help himself as well.

One way for Harris to get going is by aggressively attacking mismatches, particularly in the midrange. He seems to love that shot, and getting him a few easy looks over shorter defenders to see the ball go through the net could give him a confidence boost that extends to other aspects of his game. If Harris is able to average an efficient 18-22 points per game, that would go a long way toward reducing the pressure on the team’s two stars. 

In a sense, Harris and Hield can help each other. If either one of the two plays to their full potential, it will reduce the burden on the other. If they both play to their full potential, that will be a luxury for Nurse and will make Philadelphia’s offense one of the best in the league.