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Bold 76ers predictions for 2022-23 NBA season: Joel Embiid wins MVP, Tyrese Maxey makes first All-Star team

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After a disappointing conclusion to their 2021-22 campaign, once again failing to make it to the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Philadelphia 76ers have retooled in the off-season and they will now enter the new year again with championship hopes. In addition to the return of James Harden, the Sixers also added several other players to the roster during the offseason, including PJ Tucker, Danuel House, DeAnthony Melton and Montrezl Harrell.

Now, the revitalized Sixers will be looking to reach the Conference Finals for at least the first time since 2001. If things go well for the Sixers, the campaign could be memorable. With that said, here are four bold predictions for the 22-23 season. (Remember this bold predictions, so don’t yell at me if some or all of them don’t come true).

Joel Embiid (finally) wins MVP

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Joel Embiid has finished second in MVP voting behind Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in each of the last two seasons, but this season may finally be the time for Embiid to claim the league’s top individual honor for himself. Jokic was a worthy winner, but Embiid clearly dominated enough to win the award. Last season, he became the first center to lead the league in scoring since Shaquille O’Neal and the first to average 30-plus points per game since Moses Malone. He also played in a career-high 68 games, which is extremely important as longevity has been an issue for him in the past, especially when it comes to winning the MVP award.

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As long as Embiid is healthy, you can expect him to be dominating like he has been for the last couple of seasons, and that will put him back in the thick of MVP talk. Perhaps the fact that Embiid has been so close to winning over the past couple of years will sway some voters. Plus, history is on Embiid’s side. Only two players in NBA history (Jerry West and George Gervin) have been runners-up in MVP voting more than once and ultimately failed to win the award.

Tyrese Maxi named to First All-Star Team

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I recently made a list of five players who could potentially make their first All-Star team in 2023. Sixers third-year defenseman Tyrese Maxey was on that list, and with good reason. After gaining inconsistent playing time during his rookie season, Maxey took over the starting point guard position in Ben Simmons’ absence last season and has never looked back – even after James Harden was added to the Philadelphia roster. His numbers increased with his increased role, and he quickly established himself as an integral part of Philadelphia’s offensive attack.

From seasons one through two, Maxi’s performance jumped from eight to 17.5 points per game, and his assists doubled from two to 4.3. Most impressively, his three-point shooting has skyrocketed from 30% when he was a rookie to 42% last season. This improvement has helped him make a great addition to All-Star center Joel Embiid, and his ability to play both on and off the ball should go a long way to helping him fit in with Harden in Philadelphia’s backcourt as they move forward. Maxi has a relentless work ethic and if he continues to develop, there will likely be several All-Star selections in his future.

It remains to be seen how many more jumps Maxi will be able to make while playing alongside Embiid and Harden, but it looks like the Sixers are looking forward to big things from him.

“The biggest tipping point is probably that we need Maxi to take another step forward,” the Sixers president of basketball operations said. Daryl Morey said recently upcoming season. “And he can do it. He’s putting in the effort… His rookie year was way ahead of schedule. we need it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does, considering how much time he spends on it.”

James Harden leads the league in assists

That prediction might not even be that bold given the fact that Harden finished second in assists per game last season despite being traded midseason. Chris Paul was the only player to average more assists per game than Harden last season, and he only outscored Harden by 0.5 (10.8 to 10.3). Paul and Harden were the only two players in the league to average double-digit assists, and the Sixers added more threats to Harden to drop a dime in the offseason. At PJ Tucker and Danuel House, they added two struts that Harden is already familiar with from his days in Houston.

These two are likely to get ample opportunities thanks to Harden’s ability to penetrate the defense and then slam the ball back to the perimeter. Similarly, the Sixers also added Montrezl Harrell, with whom Harden played from 2015 to 2017 in Houston. Harrell is Harden’s reliable pick-and-roll partner and will likely get his fair share of Harden’s assists. If Harden does lead the league in assists this season, it won’t be the first time. He also accomplished the feat in the 2016-17 season.

76ers take first place in the Eastern Conference

The Sixers have finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference five times in the past. Most recently, they have taken first place in the conference following the 2020–21 season. This season may be the sixth time. The 6ers finished fourth last season, but they were only two games behind the Heat in the lead, and they seem to have improved in the offseason. The addition of guys like Tucker, House, Harrell and De’Anthony Melton has deepened the Sixers and should prove useful during the 82-game regular season.

In addition, Maxi’s continued development provides cause for optimism when it comes to how the team will perform over the course of the season. Ultimately, getting the best seed is only important if the team is able to capitalize on position and advance far into the postseason. Two seasons ago, we saw that first place didn’t matter much when the 66ers lost at home to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round. However, securing home court advantage in the Conference Finals is worth it, and it’s achievable for Philadelphia.


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