3 reasons Sixers will win 2023 NBA Finals

After months of basketball, the 2022-23 NBA regular season is entering its final stages. With less than two weeks left to play, the playoff picture is getting closer to its final shape. While the standings have some surprises, organizations such as the Philadelphia 76ers still are some of the main frontrunners for the title. So far, the Sixers are 50-26 and third in the Eastern Conference.

They are currently 2.0 games below the Boston Celtics and 5.0 games from the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. After a rough 12-12 start, Philly bounced back to have one of the best records in the league.

Last season, the Sixers made it all the way to the conference semifinals before losing to the Miami Heat in six games. The last time they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals was in 2000-01 with Allen Iverson winning MVP and Dikembe Mutombo taking home his fourth NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Even though its recent history in the NBA Playoffs has been far from perfect, Philadelphia is still having a big 2022-23 season. All of that makes the team a real contender for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. With that being said, here are three reasons why the Philadelphia 76ers can win the 2023 NBA Finals.

3. Doc Rivers has a ton of playoff experience under his belt

Regardless of its roster, a championship team needs a good head coach to lead it. Fortunately for the Sixers, they have Doc Rivers pacing the sidelines.

In 23 seasons as a coach, his teams have made it to the playoffs in 18 opportunities. He also has two NBA Finals appearances, winning in 2008 with the Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen-led Boston Celtics.

Despite those numbers, Rivers has yet to make it to the Finals since that championship year. His playoff record is 104-100, just a .510 winning percentage.

While Rivers’ recent history in the postseason has been far from ideal, he remains an experienced head coach.

Other potential title contenders have mostly inexperienced head coaches, which could give the Sixers an advantage down the line. For example, the Boston Celtics have Joe Mazzulla in his first year as a full-time head coach.

Even with the recent disappointments, the Sixers could go far with Rivers in 2023. His playoff experience could make a difference against other young coaches, giving the team an edge in a close series.

2. Despite his injuries, James Harden is bouncing back from his down years

Since being traded by the Houston Rockets, James Harden has endured many ups and downs in the league. He has yet to make an All-Star Game since leaving Houston and was even traded once again, this time from the Brooklyn Nets to the Sixers.

Although he is not playing at the same level he did in his MVP years, Harden is having one of his best seasons in a long time. He is averaging 21.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and a league-best 10.9 assists. He is shooting 43.8% from the field, 38.3% from beyond the arc and 86.4% from the free-throw line.

It is worth noting that Harden missed significant time due to an Achilles injury. While it will likely limit his impact on the court, he has many postseason appearances in his résumé, which can be helpful with young guards such as De’Anthony Melton and Tyrese Maxey on the roster.

If Joel Embiid is having an off day, Harden can pick up the slack alongside Tobias Harris and Maxey. An added benefit to The Beard’s game is that he is adept at finding high-percentage shots for his teammates.

Even with injuries playing a factor, Harden is playing well enough when healthy for the Sixers to make a run in the playoffs.

1. Sixers C Joel Embiid is playing like an MVP

There is no secret that Philadelphia’s success heavily relies on Joel Embiid. The big man is the clear No. 1 option on the team’s offense and plays a crucial role on the defensive end.

He is putting up a career-high 33.2 points, 10.2 boards and 4.2 assists plus 1.7 blocks and 1.1 steals a night. He is making a personal-best 54.4% of his field goals, 34% of his 3-point attempts and 85.6% of his free throws.

According to FanDuel, Embiid is tied with Nikola Jokić for the best odds of winning the MVP trophy. Both are currently at +110. Since the Joker has won the last two awards, Embiid could benefit from voting fatigue.

Regardless of whether he will win the individual award, Embiid is having an elite season. With him healthy, the Sixers are serious contenders for the East and even the entire league.

With Harden not 100%, the Cameroonian’s role gains even more importance. He will need to keep his MVP-level play in the postseason and perhaps compensate for any injuries that may occur with his teammates.

All things considered; Joel Embiid is the No. 1 reason why the Sixers can win the NBA Finals in 2023.

With potentially Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum ahead of the Sixers in the playoffs, Embiid’s offensive and defensive skills, especially close to the basket, could be the difference-maker for Philadelphia.

The post 3 reasons Sixers will win 2023 NBA Finals appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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