Detroit Pistons: 3 teams that could defy expectations next season
The Philadelphia 76ers could disappoint
Reasons they will defy expectations: The James Harden drama and an aging roster
The Philadelphia 76ers were picked to win 47 games and compete for the Eastern Conference again next season. This would be seven fewer wins than last season, when they finished 3rd in the East behind an MVP season from Joel Embiid.
Philly brought in coach Nick Nurse, who is tasked with getting them over the hump, and he inherited a aging roster with a lot of drama.
James Harden has called out the franchise publically several times and has said he won’t play for a Daryl Morey team, drama that has dominated their offseason and will continue to well into training camp if they can’t find a suitable trade partner.
They could head into next season with an unhappy star or potentially with a bunch of new players if they trade him. Either way, how is that going to affect Joel Embiid? Will he be the next star to demand an exit from Philly? Don’t rule it out, especially with the Knicks sniffing around after spending the last few seasons gathering assets to make such a trade.
Their roster isn’t getting any younger with James Harden (34), Tobias Harris (31), PJ Tucker (38) and Patrick Beverley (35) all on the wrong side of 30.
Philly is a Harden trade and an Embiid injury away from being a lottery team, so the spectrum of what they could be next season is wide. If things go right and Harden gets on board or is traded for some win-now players, Philly could once again contend for the East, but if the Harden Saga hangs over them, things could go wrong quickly, especially if they get hit with the injury bug.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Philly ended up winning the East next season or bombing out of the playoffs altogether, so it’s likely they defy expectations one way or the other.