We are officially at the midpoint of the regular season for the Philadelphia 76ers. At 25-16, the Sixers currently sit at fifth place in the Eastern Conference, five games back of first-place Boston and one game back of Cleveland for fourth.
In this week’s Talking About Podcast, Sean Kennedy is joined by Jackson Frank to discuss where things currently stand for this team. Have the Sixers exceeded, failed to meet, or perfectly aligned with expectations coming into the season?
Then, Jackson provides more of an objective perspective on the Joel Embiid, All-Star starter conversation. In the most recent second round of fan voting, which accounts for 50 percent of the vote, Embiid slipped to fourth in frontcourt voting for the Eastern Conference, behind Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jayson Tatum.
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Here’s Jackson is whether he would slot Embiid among the top three frontcourt spots in the East:
“I would, right now, have him over Giannis. KD for me — it’ll become different as KD starts to miss more games — KD for me, he’s been my MVP pick so far...Tatum, I think he’s been right there as well...I think on a per-game basis, I think Embiid’s been a little better [than Giannis]. He’s scoring the ball better. I know it’s a better offensive environment. I think his defense, they’ve both been kind of up and down at times in terms of the proper rotations as a helpside defender, things like that. I just prefer Embiid a little bit there.”
In the bigger picture, though, Embiid recently missed games due to foot soreness and was seen limping during Thursday night’s game against Oklahoma City, although Joel downplayed the issue after the game. Sean and Jackson discuss what the level of concern should be for the team and fans for yet another ailment for the prodigious big man.
Then, the All-Star game isn’t the only big date on the NBA calendar in February, as the trade deadline is mere weeks away on February 9. What area of improvement would most benefit the Sixers to upgrade at the deadline: another playmaking guard, help on the wings, more rim protection?
Finally, Sean and Jackson answer the recent SB Nation Reacts question as to who has stepped up the most for the Sixers in the absence of their stars this season? Tobias Harris has toggled masterfully between the “sharpshooter” catch-and-shoot, off-ball threat and a more ball-dominant playmaker as needed. Shake Milton was on the brink of being out of the rotation coming into the season, and then carried the Hospital Sixers with over 20 points per game and near triple-double numbers for a stretch. De’Anthony Melton has been the team’s best offseason acquisition, providing high-volume shooting, scalable ball-handling when called upon, and serving as the team’s top perimeter defender.
Covering those topics and more, listen to the Talking About Podcast in full below:
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