The 2020-21 NBA season is set to tip-off on Dec. 22. To get you ready for the year to come, we're dedicating one day between now and the start of the season to each team in the league.
Today, we take a look at the Philadelphia 76ers
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2019-20 season record
43-30, 6th in the Eastern Conference
Tyrese Maxey, No. 21 pick in 2020 NBA Draft
Isaiah Joe, No. 49 pick in 2020 NBA Draft
Paul Reed, No. 58 pick in 2020 NBA Draft (two-way contract)
Seth Curry, Trade (Dallas)
Terrance Ferguson, Trade (Oklahoma City)
Danny Green, Trade (L.A. Lakers via Oklahoma City)
Tony Bradley Jr., Trade (Utah via Detroit)
Al Horford, Trade (Oklahoma City)
Zhaire Smith, Trade (Detroit, then waived)
Josh Richardson, Trade (Dallas)
Alec Burks, Free agency (New York)
Raul Neto, Free agency (Washington)
Kyle O'Quinn, Free agency
Glenn Robinson III, Free agency (Sacramento)
|PG||Ben Simmons||Shake Milton||Tyrese Maxey|
|SG||Danny Green||Seth Curry||Furkan Korkmaz|
|SF||Matisse Thybulle||Terrance Ferguson||Justin Anderson|
|PF||Tobias Harris||Mike Scott||Paul Reed|
|C||Joel Embiid||Dwight Howard||Tony Bradley|
3 key storylines
The Simmons and Embiid dynamic
Entering their fourth season together, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are both healthy and coming off All-Star campaigns, with expectations sky-high.
While James Harden trade rumours swirl, the message from the 76ers front office has been consistent throughout the off-season, that they want to see what they have in their star duo, especially under a new head coach in Doc Rivers.
"Joel and Ben will be here for a long time," President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey said earlier this off-season. "We have two young superstars in their prime and you want to build around them."
Simmons and Embiid have shown that they can play together, especially on the defensive end, but striking a balance between Embiid's efficient post-up game and Simmons' preference to score in the paint will be the key for Rivers.
The Doc Rivers era
After seven seasons at the helm, Brett Brown and the 76ers parted ways in the offseason, paving the way for Doc Rivers to take over.
Rivers arrives in Philly with sky-high expectations, with a roster full of talent that has yet to take the next step, but the early signs from training camp point to a squad that is ready to buy in and adapt to a more free-flowing offence.
"It's great," said second-year guard Matisse Thybulle. "I think I speak for everyone we say we love playing for him. Obviously, things are different in practice so we'll see when we have games where we got a lot of momentum, a lot of good vibes going into it."
"I think we have a lot more space. I think guys have a lot more space to just do what they do whether it's a shooter shooting, a slasher slashing, or the big fella making it work in the paint. I think there's a lot more space for everyone."
Rivers is committed to running more pick-and-rolls with Simmons and Embiid, something the 76ers rarely did in seasons prior, and now with an arsenal of shooters, the young duo will have more room to operate inside the paint.
While the focus has largely been on their two All-Stars, Tobias Harris looms as a player who could benefit the most from Rivers' arrival. Harris has yet to play to his potential in Philly and who better than Rivers to be tasked with unlocking his game?
Rivers coached Harris for 87 games between 2017-19 as a member of the LA Clippers, the most productive stretch of his career, which saw him average 20.3 points and 7.2 rebounds on 42.6% shooting from the 3-point line.
If RIvers can get Simmons, Embiid and Harris firing on all cylinders, they have a chance to be one of the best three-man groups in the league.
Supporting cast of shooters
The Simons-Embiid combination has yet to hit full stride in Philly, but after a busy offseason spearheaded by President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey, the 76ers roster on paper looks to have much more balance with an array of shooting to space the floor.
Danny Green (36.7%) and Seth Curry (45.2%) arrived in the offseason and will be able to replicate the success the 76ers had the last time they were loaded with shooters - the 2017-18 season, which saw them go 52-30 in the regular season, good for third in the Eastern Conference.
The numbers paint a pretty telling picture.
With Simmons and Embiid dominating inside, the release valve of their new duo of 3-point shooters is going to make life tough for opposing defenders every night.
5 games to watch
Jan. 8 at Brooklyn Nets
Two of the best duos in the East go head-to-head with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant already looking like their dominant selves. This game is going to have no shortage of highlight-reel plays.
Jan. 21 vs. Boston Celtics
Another battle of division rivals, Philly will be out to exact revenge after the Celtics swept them in last seasons playoffs.
Doc Rivers will also be coming up against the franchise he won a championship with in 2008.
Jan. 28 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James vs. Ben Simmons and Anthony Davis vs. Joel Embiid.
What else do you need?
Feb. 26 vs. Dallas Mavericks
Another matchup against a dynamic duo pegs Luka Doncic vs. Ben Simmons
Seth Curry and Josh Richardson will be playing against their former teams after the guards were traded for each other in the offseason.
TBD vs. Milwaukee Bucks
This game will be played in the second half of the season, but Embiid vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo is always a fun matchup.
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