Quarterly report card: Are the Sixers becoming a Beast in the East?

NBA: MAY 05 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 3 – Celtics at 76ers
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Center Joel Embiid (21) celebrates after a dunk in the first half during the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 05, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Sixers are currently sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference at 10-5. They’ve had some uneven games, and the COVID protocols have definitely affected the team as they’ve had to play undermanned a few times. All things considered, first place is a very good place to be in through the first quarter of the season. With the opening stanza now behind us, it’s time to grade what we’ve seen so far.

Sixers Starters

Joel Embiid – 26.4 PTS 11.3 RBS 2.8 ASST 1.4 STL 1.4 BLK

Embiid has been a clear-cut favorite for MVP to start the year. As Joel goes, so do the Sixers. Shooting 55% from the field, 37% from three, and 84% from the line, Embiid has done everything that he said he was setting out to do at the start of the season.

The big man is playing more within the game and not trying to force as much as he’s done in the past. If he can keep this up, it’s going to be hard to argue against him winning the MVP at the end of the season. His health will always be a question but, the team has managed him quite well to start the year. 

Grade: A

Ben Simmons – 12.2 PPG 9.2 RBS 8.0 ASST 1.5 STL .9 BLK

Simmons is such a hard person to grade here. While the team is winning and he’s playing well within the system, his scoring and shooting percentages are the lowest they’ve been in his short career. However, on defense, the team may be lost without him.

If Simmons continues his almost triple-double stat line and the Sixers continue to win, it’s not going to make a difference at the end of the season because his defense is extraordinary and that’s where championships are won. 

Grade: B-

Tobias Harris – 19.3 PTS 6.3 RBS 3.1 ASST 1.2 STL .9 BLK

Harris had a career-year playing under coach Doc Rivers as a Clipper and is on pace to do that again in his first year reuniting with him. He’s consistently at the top of the scoring pile on the team and he’s flirting with the 50/40/90 club as he’s just under with 89.7% on free throws.

Often chided for his play last season, Harris has reassumed the role that saw him so successfully under Rivers. As everyone likes to point out in regards to his contract, Harris is not a top-five player in the league. What he is, is a valuable piece to the team concept that Rivers has instilled and he’s showing that the hot start is not a fluke. If he can continue this level of play for the whole season, Harris is going to be one of the main reasons that the Sixers make the NBA Finals.

Grade: A

Seth Curry – 17.0 PTS 2.3 RBS 3.6 ASST .8 STL .4 BLK

Seth Curry was brought here for one reason and one reason only – to shoot the ball.

While he’s only played in eight games, Curry has been electric. Forget the 50/40/90 club. If the former Maverick continues his current shooting, he’ll establish a new 60/60/100 club. While that’s obviously out of reach, to see the 30-year-old knocking down three-pointers at a 60% clip is something that’s unheard of.

In spite of the recent COVID restrictions that have limited his games, Curry is everything that the Sixers wanted and clearly missed in the past. He’s a pure sniper that gives the team a legitimate shooting guard. 

Grade: A+

Danny Green – 9.7 PTS 3.8 RBDS 2.7 ASST 1.1 STL .7 BLK

He started out slowly, but Green wasn’t brought in to be a star on the team. He’s got a few titles under his belt and was signed to provide leadership and add an extra bit of spice on defense as well as the obvious perimeter threat. The former Laker is doing exactly that.

The UNC product is currently converting 38% of his chances from deep, which is not bad at all. He’s one of only three players to play all fifteen games and after a rough start, he’s really come along over the last few games. 

Grade: B

Continued on the page below.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire