Are the Sixers really “built for playoffs” this time?

Select 2022-23 Sixers Questions: Really ‘built for playoffs’ this time? Originally appeared NBC Sports Philadelphia

TIt’s 2022-23 The Sixers will start their season in September 27 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Before boot camp begins, we’re looking at the questions that will define a team’s season and ultimately determine whether the Sixers advance past the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

We checked Whether the Sixers can win the turnover battle And the Solve their feedback problem.

Next up: Are the Sixers really “built for playoffs” this time?

Joel Embiid He made five postseason appearances with Sixers. In four of them, he was sidelined in at least one match due to injury.

Embiid and The Sixers swept the only occasion he’d fit into every game, ending a mostly miserable stay in the NBA’s Disney World bubble with an overall first-round loss to Celtics.

After Brett Brown insisted all season that the Sixers were “built for playoffs,” that was his final year as head coach. Ben SimmonsThe left knee injury at the end of the season was significant, and the Sixers certainly didn’t play like a team worthy of such a label. But after two seasons and two second-round losses later, can the Sixers make it up?

One simple and reasonable way to answer the question is, “Yes, because it goes deeper.” with PJ Tucker, De’Anthony Melton and Danuel House Jr. On board, there’s a good chance head coach Doc Rivers will feel better about his bench options from the recent playoffs. After losing Game Three of the Sixers’ second round to the Heat, Rivers admitted that, in his eyes, no such thing. Matisse ThibaultAnd the Furkan Korkmaz And the shake milton He got a stable role so far.

“Men like Shake and Furk and even Matisse, they will continue to change,” rivers said. “And every coach in the NBA would say, ‘I’d like to have an eight-player rotation where we do it every night. Well, that’s not up to the coach. It’s up to the players to define the roles so well that you never want to change. But when you don’t have that, you have to be willing to keep changing, and keep moving those three. That’s what we do.

“It’s not one thing that one man does over the other. Every night you look at the team, you look at the game, you look at how someone (the player) can help you in this game, and then one can help you in the next game, because no one really took that role. The shake was good last night (in Game 3) and we need more of that.”

For the most successful qualifying teams, “depth” does not mean a fixed rotation of 10 players. Insurance never hurts, though. Embiid missed just two games in the playoffs last season with a torn thumb ligament, a fractured pilgrim and a concussion, but the five-time All-Star wasn’t his best version on his return. He played through injury in the 2021 playoffs as well, missing the Sixers’ Game 5 win over the Wizards and then returning to the team’s second-round series with the Hawks.

“Joel, you feel awful for him, frankly,” said Daryl Morey, Sixers’ chief of basketball operations, at his end-of-season press conference. “Last year on the series in Washington he messed up, and it wasn’t really the same afterwards. When the thumb (the injury) happened… Listen, I’m realistic. You knew that was going to be a struggle—your right hand, and your thumb don’t have anything to keep it in Put it in. It literally flips the ball backwards if you try to pass the ball in. Then hits the face on top of that.

“Sometimes (it’s) a great skill, but you also have to be lucky to win. You also have to be healthy to win. And for your best player for two years in a row to go and play in the playoffs, getting them wrong is hard. It really is. And that’s where Obviously, we need to make sure that we support him and continue to help him more, so when these things happen, we can still stabilize the fort.”

On paper, Paul Reed, Tucker and Charles Bassi she Three primary Sixers nominees for backup center minutes right now.

Including the 6-foot-5 Tucker on that short list is one example of his powerful versatility. It’s good to have him on your squad when pre-chain defensive tactics fail or when intense doubles teams dampen the influence of your stars. Tucker has extensive experience utilizing space and footage created by James Harden. The 37-year-old has proven his ability to guard ferociousness and intelligence to whoever demands it of him.

Decent health permitting, Sixers appear to be naturally more adaptable in general. Hand Melton a larger-than-usual role against the Celtics or the Bucks if his bird is hot and he’s bothering Malcolm Brogdon He seems less desperate than the manipulation of the Korkmaz-Thipul-Milton trio.

Clearly, the Sixers aren’t the only Eastern team with good reasons to believe in themselves in the playoff. The Celtics are the team to beat. The Bucks won it all in 2021 and topped 3-2 in the series against Boston last year without Chris Middleton. Jimmy Butler highlights and leads Miami incredibly close to the NBA Finals. Kevin Durant he is still network And the Donovan Mitchell he is Now a knight.

All of the teams listed above – or one of the teams not listed – can find fatal cracks in the structure of a Sixers match. We’ll have to wait until April to see how well the Sixers are built.