The Philadelphia 76ers have a number of young contributors and figure to be a regular contender for years to come, but big man Joel Embiid has high aspirations for this season's team after it seized a 3-1 advantage over the Miami Heat in the first round of the 2018 NBA playoffs.
"I think our time is now," Embiid said Monday, per Ian Begley of ESPN.com. "We have a special team, a lot of great guys. I don't think we need anybody else. We've just got to work with what we have. We have a special team, and I feel like we have a pretty good chance to go far."
Philadelphia won Game 4 in Miami despite 26 turnovers and Embiid going a mere 2-of-11 from the field with eight of those turnovers as he played with a mask thanks to the orbital fracture he suffered. To battle through the self-inflicted adversity and still win a postseason game on the road is a testament to the team's ceiling when everyone is playing well and how "special" it can be.
Embiid granted he still hasn't grown accustomed to the mask he is wearing, calling it "annoying" and "weird," per Begley.
That the Kansas product said he doesn't think the 76ers need anyone else after grinding out that win stands out considering LeBron James could be waiting for them in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers star's looming decision about his future has been a topic of discussion in Philadelphia, especially after billboards recruiting James to join the 76ers appeared.
Still, Philadelphia has a talented young core with Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Robert Covington and Markelle Fultz and is one win away from advancing past the first round for the first time since 2012.
It also isn't much of a stretch to envision this version of the 76ers winning the Eastern Conference if Embiid stays healthy considering the Cavaliers are struggling to get past the Indiana Pacers after splitting their first four games. The top-seeded Toronto Raptors also split their first four playoff games against the Washington Wizards, and the second-seeded Boston Celtics are without the injured Kyrie Irving.
The opportunity is there for the 76ers to advance to the NBA Finals, and Embiid sounded ready to seize it.