The Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the more disappointing teams in the NBA for the past four seasons.
At least when it comes to postseason success.
In the 2018-19 season, they announced their intentions to compete for the NBA title.
The front office swung two major trades during the year.
And the move nearly worked.
Philadelphia took the eventual champion Toronto Raptors to the final second of Game 7 in the second round.
Eventually falling to a now iconic Kawhi Leonard buzzer beater.
KAWHI CALLED SERIES! pic.twitter.com/V4AIuMULNO
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 13, 2019
However, it was seen as a step in the right direction.
The 76ers had won 50 games in back-to-back seasons and had a new Big Three of Embiid, Simmons, and Butler.
Or at least it was assumed that would be the Big Three.
That offseason saw Butler get a sign-and-trade deal to go to the Miami Heat with Philly using the money saved to bring in Al Horford.
It was a rocky two years after that point.
But things changed this past season.
For the first time since 2019, the 76ers feel like real contenders.
76ers Have a Deep, Talented Roster
Philadelphia finally seemingly has the right cast of characters surrounding franchise star Embiid.
Harden and Tyrese Maxey are uber-talented guards who can score the basketball in bunches.
If Harden remains healthy, those two comprise one of the best offensive backcourts in the NBA.
76ers counting on Maxey to form Big 3 with Harden, Embiidhttps://t.co/8iNPWgXT0m
— Charles Newcomb (@Charles18183210) October 12, 2022
De’Anthony Melton adds depth at the guard position with solid point-of-attack defensive chops.
Harris, PJ Tucker, and Danuel House Jr give the 76ers their deepest stable of two-way wings in recent history.
And Philly still has contributors to be named past those nine names.
It all adds up to one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the NBA.
Doc Rivers will not have to rely on players who can either shoot or defend at a high level in the playoffs.
Instead, he will have his choice of players who can do both to close out games alongside Harden, Maxey, Harris, and Embiid.
The 76ers should be able to find a good balance of both offensive firepower and defensive stoppers for all lineups that step on the court this season.
Between the high-end star power and rotational depth, the 76ers seem poised to truly compete for a title this year.
While the 76ers picture seems rosy for the upcoming year, it gets a bit murky looking forward.
Mainly because of the age of their top players.
Embiid will be a year away from 30 by the end of this season.
For a player with a checkered injury past, that is concerning, even if he has been relatively healthy the past two seasons.
Harden just turned 33 in August and has put plenty of mileage on his body.
He seemed to have lost a step last season and while he says it was due to a hamstring issue, it will be worth monitoring.
And then there is Tucker, who received a three-year, $33-million deal as a 37-year-old.
Philadelphia 76ers to sign PJ Tucker to a three-year contract.
— FantasyLabs NBA (@FantasyLabsNBA) June 30, 2022
He did not show any signs of decline with Miami last season, but will he hold up as he gets closer to 40?
This may be the last true chance of winning a title for the 76ers.
Their stars will be another year older next year.
And they already have north of $153 million in guaranteed money for the 2023-24 season.
Meaning if things don’t go well this year, they will have limited avenues to improve for next year.
Morey has already worked his magic for the 76ers to set them up this year.
It would be another feat of genius to set Philly up for the future.