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Joel Embiid: 76ers Will Be 'Almost Impossible to Beat' When We're at Our Best

Erin WalshDecember 21, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 16: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts during the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Wells Fargo Center on December 16, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

After a rough start to the season, the Philadelphia 76ers are now fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 17-12 record, and Joel Embiid believes the team can compete with the best of the best when playing to its full potential despite not being higher in the standings.

"When we are at our best, we can beat anybody," Embiid told ESPN's Cassidy Hubbarth. "It's going to be almost impossible to beat us."

A big reason why the Sixers haven't lived up to expectations so far this season is that they haven't been fully healthy.

James Harden has only appeared in 15 games this season due to a tendon strain in his right foot that sidelined him from Nov. 4 through Dec. 2. Additionally, Tyrese Maxey has been out since Nov. 19 with a small fracture in his left foot.

Both Maxey and Harden are significant pieces in Philadelphia's starting lineup. Before being sidelined, Maxey was in the midst of his best NBA season, averaging 22.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 46.2 percent from the floor and 42.2 percent from deep.

Harden is just as important of a player for the Sixers. He's averaging 21.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 10.5 assists while shooting 43.4 percent from the floor and 36.1 percent from deep.

As a result of the injuries, Embiid has been heavily relied upon to lead the team by himself, and he's done more than enough to put the Sixers in a position to win. The potential MVP candidate is averaging 33 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 21 games while shooting 52.9 percent from the floor and 35.3 percent from deep.

The 76ers are already competing with some of the NBA's best, defeating the likes of the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors.

However, beyond Philly's starting five, and De'Anthony Melton, it's clear the Sixers need help off the bench, and adding an extra depth piece or two could be beneficial for a deep postseason run.

If the Sixers can stay healthy and get some added help off the bench, there's no reason to believe they can't compete with the Bucks and Boston Celtics in the East.