Sixers need to be in championship or bust mode for 2022-23 season

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The clock is now ticking for the Philadelphia 76ers. They made their big move at the deadline when they acquired future Hall of Famer James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets and teamed him up with Joel Embiid in order to contend for a title.

That didn’t happen as they were ousted by the Miami Heat in Round 2 of the playoffs. It was their fourth elimination in Round 2 of the playoffs in the past five seasons as they have not been able to overcome the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Fast forward to now and the Sixers do not have many excuses as they prepare for the 2022-23 season. Harden opted out of his $47.3 million player option and settled for roughly $34.3 million per year after re-signing on a 1+1 deal. With that financial flexibility, the Sixers went out and brought in PJ Tucker and Danuel House Jr. in free agency while also trading for De’Anthony Melton.

They have rebuilt the depth that they lost in the Harden deal and now that the star guard has had a full summer to rest his bothersome hamstring, the expectation is that he and Embiid will carry Philadelphia deep into the playoffs. On paper, this might be the deepest and best Sixers team during the Embiid era and that is where the excuses have to stop.

Philadelphia’s starting lineup will feature a Hall of Famer in Harden, a guy on track to make the Hall in Embiid, a champion in Tucker, a rising star in Tyrese Maxey, and a reliable scorer in do-it-all forward Tobias Harris. On top of that, they now have reliable bench players in Melton, House Jr., and others.

With that being said, Harden has a reputation for his playoff shortcomings despite his obvious Hall of Fame career. A big example was him taking only two shots in the second half of the Game 6 elimination loss to the Heat. That has to stop. There are no more excuses for that.

Embiid is not getting off scot-free either. He has had playoff moments here and there where he has come up small. For example, he had eight turnovers in the Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in 2021, including a critical one late. While the series with the Heat can be forgiven due to the facial fracture as well as the thumb injury, he too has to take his game to another level in order to lead the Sixers to a title.

Who wins the 2022-23 NBA Championship? - Powered By PickUp

The time is now for the Sixers in the 2022-23 season. This is why the organization brought in Daryl Morey to help them chase a title. He has made the necessary roster moves and he has given both Embiid and Harden enough talent around them in order to win right now. It’s now championship or bust for this current group.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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