clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Four Sixers crack predicted top 100 NBA players for 2023-24

Find out where Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris rank among the league according to Bleacher Report.

2022-23 Philadelphia 76ers Media Day Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Four Philadelphia 76ers made the cut for the predicted top 100 players in the NBA for the 2023-24 season, according to Bleacher Report.

Reigning MVP Joel Embiid, as expected, is the top Sixer on the list, coming in at fourth overall (behind Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic as the top three, respectively). Embiid was also ranked third in the league as a big, behind Jokic and Antetokounmpo. In the breakdown, Bleacher Report staff references Embiid’s strides as a scorer and even as a facilitator to justify the ranking, despite the Sixers’ ultimate playoff collapse just a few months ago.

After falling just short in back-to-back years, Joel Embiid finally took home his first MVP award last season. The Sixers’ playoff collapse coupled with the Denver Nuggets’ march to the NBA championship might make that look questionable in retrospect, but make no mistake: Embiid was a worthy choice.

With a career-high 33.1 points per game last season, Embiid became the first center since Bob McAdoo in the mid-1970s to lead the NBA in scoring in back-to-back years. He did so on a career-high 54.8 percent shooting, fueled by a seemingly endless barrage of pick-and-pop elbow jumpers courtesy of James Harden and Tyrese Maxey.

Embiid is by no means the playmaking savant that Nikola Jokić is, but he’s made strides in that department in recent years. After failing to crack 4.0 assists per game across his first five seasons, he’s gone back-to-back years with 4.2 helpers per outing.

James Harden and Tyrese Maxey join Embiid among Sixers in the top 100 overall. The guard duo were both also ranked in the top 30 guards in the league entering the new season.

(At least at the time of writing this, James Harden is still a Philadelphia 76er.)

Harden, who is slated to begin training camp with the Sixers on Oct. 3 but has expressed that he may not be taking part, was ranked 11th on the guard rankings and 22nd among all players. Putting aside the off-court drama the Sixers fans are beyond tired of by now, Harden is still regarded as one of the best in the business at his job as he continues to put up impressive numbers that keep him in the All-Star conversation season after season.

[In 2022-23] Harden led the NBA with 10.7 assists per game to go with 21.0 points on 44.1 percent shooting, 6.1 rebounds, 2.8 triples and 1.2 steals in 36.8 minutes across 58 appearances. Although he fell short of All-Star and All-NBA nods, he helped fuel Joel Embiid’s MVP campaign, and he was the main reason the Sixers won Games 1 and 4 against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

(Unfortunately, other than Games 1 and 4 of that series, quite a different story... but I digress.)

The reality is that Harden is still one of the top guards in the association, even considering a bit of fall-off since his time with the Houston Rockets. That is precisely why this disastrous saga around trading him or keeping him has yet to be resolved. Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is not going to give up someone of Harden’s caliber without an appropriate return, something the Los Angeles Clippers do not seem to be willing to part with at this time.

Harden’s teammate, fan-favorite Tyrese Maxey, ranked 23rd on the list of guards and 51st overall in the league. The 22-year-old has exploded onto the NBA scene after making big leaps in play over the past few seasons. Last campaign, he averaged 20.3 points and shot an impressive 43.4% from beyond the arc. He dabbled a bit more this past season as a playmaker in a sixth-man type role. Whether he continues to be put in those facilitator positions consistently will likely depend on whether Harden remains with the Sixers, as Bleacher Report alludes to in their breakdown.

Maxey’s development as a playmaker will be the biggest area of focus moving forward, particularly depending on how the ongoing James Harden trade saga plays out. But whether he’s a long-term complement to Embiid or the cornerstone of a rebuild if the Sixers eventually pivot from their star center, Maxey’s exuberance and insatiable work ethic should make him a fan favorite in Philadelphia for years to come.

This should be uplifting for Philadelphia fans as far as the guard core goes, with Maxey much more likely to be around the City of Brotherly Love for seasons to come rather than Harden. Again, what role Sixers new head coach Nick Nurse decides to utilize the young guard in likely depends on the roster come regular-season tip-off. Regardless, if the past few seasons have been any indication, Maxey has been on an steep upward trajectory in the league and is clearly expected to continue on that path.

Sixers teammate Tobias Harris just made the cut for the top 100 players, taking the 100th-place spot. He also just slid in among the top 30 wings, coming in at 30th.

If Tobias Harris hadn’t signed a five-year, $180 million contract in 2019, perception of him would likely be far different. He averaged a perfectly adequate 18.7 points on 48.7 percent shooting, 6.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 three-pointers per game over the first three years of that deal, although that production was by no means commensurate with his salary.

Harris fell off a bit in the past season, likely due to the increased production from the Embiid and Harden duo as well as from Maxey. However, with Harden’s future as a Sixer up the air, this upcoming season may have Philadelphia relying on and expecting more from Harris.

The Sixers are set to begin training camp on Oct. 3.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Liberty Ballers Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Philadelphia 76ers news from Liberty Ballers