Ben Simmons Joel Embiid
Photo: Matt Slocum/Associated Press

It’s fair to say that the Philadelphia 76ers have had an impressive start to the season. As of me writing this, they’re currently 11-5 and leading the way in the Eastern Conference. But, can they keep this up for the regular season and take some of this momentum into the postseason?

Leading the Sixers, this season, it’s been Joel Embiid. With how he’s played so far, he’s in the MVP race too. 27.3 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 40.0 3PT% and with a true shooting percentage of 68.1%. But these stats aren’t far off his 2018-19 season, but he’s definitely improved a lot since then. Mainly with how efficient he is and also on the defensive end.

As I previously mentioned, he has a true shooting percentage of 68.1% so far this season which is almost 9 percentage points higher than his 2018-19 season of 59.3%. This increase has come from all areas of the floor, too, as he’s shooting career-highs from 2-pointers, 3-pointers, and free throws. I believe he’ll be able to keep these percentages up too, other than maybe his 3PT% which I think could drop down to around 35%.

Joel Embiid has been a great defensive player the past 3 years anyway, but I believe he’s stepped his level up again this season. His defensive win shares for this season closely rival his 2018-19 season, in which he was second-team All-Defense. He’s one of the best rim protectors in the league and he’s a good perimeter defender, considering his 7-foot frame. If he plays like this for the rest of the season, I have no doubt that he’ll collect his 3rd All-Defensive award, and he may even break into the first team.

Can the Sixers finish 1st in the East, though? I would still be surprised, even after this incredible start, just because I believe the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks are too strong. Once the Nets sort out their team chemistry they’re going to be unbelievable on offense and almost impossible to defend. Then for the Bucks, they’ve had the best record in the NBA, these past 2 seasons, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them do it again. Only time will tell, though.