Philadelphia 76ers Preview - NBA Team Previews 2022-23

Philadelphia 76ers Preview - NBA Team Previews 2022-23

This article is part of our NBA Team Previews series.

2022-23 Philadelphia 76ers Team Preview

The 76ers' biggest offseason news was James Harden agreeing to a new, longer-term deal that allowed Philly to add P.J. Tucker to the roster. That said, this team's success still depends most on Joel Embiid's health. The big center appeared in a career-high 68 games last season, so maybe his durability is trending in the right direction.

2021-22 Record: 51-31; Lost NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals (2-4) versus Heat

2022-23 NBA Win Total Odds: 50.5 wins (DraftKings)

2022-23 NBA Title Odds: +1,500 (DraftKings) 

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Check out our 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Rankings, which includes fantasy basketball projections for every player.

Philadelphia 76ers Fantasy Basketball Preview - Top Players

Joel Embiid

Last season was the best of Embiid's career, thanks, in large part, to his ability to stay healthy. The center played a career-high 68 games while averaging career highs in points (30.6), assists (4.2) and steals (1.1) and adding 11.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 33.8 minutes. Embiid ranked second in MVP voting and was second-team All-NBA for a second straight season. In fantasy, Embiid ranked third in both total and per-game production. In raw totals production, 2021-22 marked the first time Embiid ranked higher than 13th due to issues staying on the court. Those concerns remain, but Embiid's upside ensures that he's worth a first-round pick, especially given that the only center better in fantasy basketball is Nikola Jokic, and center is a position of scarcity. Fantasy managers shouldn't expect much to change for Embiid in 2022-23. An entire season from a reportedly revitalized James Harden could, in theory, decrease Embiid's usage. Tyrese Maxey is also bound to make strides. But, Embiid is the offense's driving force and can dominate the game from any area of the court. He had the second-highest usage rate (37.2%) in the NBA last season.

James Harden

For the second time in as many seasons, Harden found himself on the move. He wanted out of Brooklyn after having just landed there the prior season. Whether it was his relationship with Kyrie Irving and/or Kevin Durant, or frustration with the front office, things just didn't work out as the Nets had planned when they united the star trio. He was ultimately dealt to the 76ers -- a move that landed Ben Simmons with the Nets. Overall, Harden had a down season offensively by averaging 22.0 points per game -- his lowest mark since the 2011-12 season when he was still with the Thunder. His efficiency also cratered, with him shooting 41.0 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from behind the arc. Still, he wasn't exactly a fantasy dud with his averages of 7.7 rebounds, 10.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.3 three-pointers. He signed a two-year extension with the 76ers this summer, taking less money so that they could build up the roster around him and Joel Embiid. If he shows renewed energy and comes into training camp in shape, a very productive season could be on the horizon. Even if he continues to struggle with his efficiency, he does enough across the board to likely make him a mid-to-late first-round pick.

Tyrese Maxey

Maxey was one of the most notable breakout players of the 2021-22 season. Ben Simmons' absence before the trade deadline allowed Maxey to step in as the starting point guard, and his role remained stagnant after the Sixers dealt Simmons for James Harden. The 21st overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Maxey averaged 17.5 points, 4.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 35.3 minutes in his second NBA campaign. His shooting efficiency was excellent, especially considering the considerable increase in role and his age (just 21), with the point guard slashing 49/43/87. Impressively, Maxey also minimized his turnovers (1.2), making him a sneaky target in nine-category fantasy leagues. Maxey also played at a high level into the playoffs during the 76ers' series against the Raptors and Heat. Over 12 postseason games, the Kentucky product averaged 20.8 points on 48/38/94 shooting, 3.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and just 1.8 turnovers in 40.4 minutes per game. Maxey's role will likely remain the same for this upcoming season, though fantasy managers can expect some improvement given his age. Ultimately, Maxey's usage will be capped given the presence of Harden and Joel Embiid. Still, he has already established himself as the Sixers' No. 3 option and someone capable of running a bench unit.

Tobias Harris

It's safe to say Harris took a step back in the 2021-22 season, as he posted his lowest scoring average since the 2016-17 campaign with only 17.2 points per game. That trend could be expected to continue in a negative trajectory in 2022-23 as well, as Harris is expected to be nothing more than the third-best -- or even fourth-best -- option for the Sixers on offense, behind MVP candidate Joel Embiid, star guard James Harden and promising scorer Tyrese Maxey. Even considering the likely dip in his scoring figures, Harris can still be a solid fantasy contributor since his passing, rebounding and peripheral defensive stats remain decent for a player of his position since he averaged 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and a combined 1.2 blocks and steals per game. It would be reasonable to expect similar figures again, as he has averaged at least 6.8 boards and 3.5 dimes per game -- a career-high mark -- in each of the last two campaigns. Harris could be a valuable mid-round to late-round selection in most formats, but fantasy managers need to be fully aware that he is not likely to be the offensive force he was back in the day, and that most of his contributions will now come due to his all-around ability rather than his scoring prowess.

Philadelphia 76ers Depth Chart for 2022-23

Click here to take a look at the 76ers' full depth chart

Philadelphia 76ers Predictions for 2022-23

Embiid, Harden and Maxey form a true "Big 3". Like the Celtics and Bucks, this team will be judged by how they do in the playoffs, not the regular season. Expectations are high. New arrivals P.J. Tucker and Montrezl Harrell hopefully add a degree of toughness lacking from prior Sixer playoff pushes. Expect Harden and Maxey to continue to blossom as teammates (Maxey shot over 57% from the field last season when on the court with Harden).

Record Prediction

  • 53-29
  • 2nd in the East
  • Loses in seven games to Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals
     

Bold Call

James Harden will return to his old Houston Rocket numbers.  After a crazy two years of travel from Houston-to-Brooklyn-to-Philadelphia, Harden will settle down and focus once again on quality basketball.  He seems happy in Philly. Back in 2017-2020, The Beard averaged 33.6 points, 7.9 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 4.3 made threes per game over three seasons. While his points per game will probably hover in the upper-20s, all of those other stats are achievable. This is only Harden's age-32 season -- it's too early to assume an age-based decline.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ken
An early RotoWire contributor from the 90's, K-Train returns with the grace of Gheorghe Muresan and the wisdom of Joe Gibbs. Ken is a two-time FSWA award winner and a co-host on the RW NBA Podcast. He's also the 2016 Champion of the prestigious RW NBA Keeper League and the 2019 Champion of the RW NFL Ottoneu Keeper League. Ken still owns a RotoNews shirt.
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