After a coaching change in the offseason, the 76ers sit atop the standings with a league-leading 6-1 record and are looking like genuine title contenders this season.
From no. 1 in the East, we go to near the bottom of the conference, with the Washington Wizards slowly finding their mojo. After seven games, they have a 2-5 record, but the last two games have given them new life.
The Wizards won their last two games with a chance to make it three straight when they travel to Philly.
Combined Starting 5 (Washington Wizards vs Philadelphia 76ers Prediction)
The Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers have no shortage of All-Stars, with both teams showcasing two each this season.
The 76ers also have Tobias Harris, who may not be an All-Star but is playing some of the best basketball of his career.
Here is our combined starting 5 for the Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards game:
Center - Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is the barometer for the team’s performance.
When he was out, the Sixers lost to the surprising Cleveland Cavaliers. With him on the floor, the 76ers have been unstoppable, winning all six of their games.
Embiid is at the center of the Sixers’ success as his game continues to evolve with new coach Doc Rivers at the helm. He’s contributing 23.2 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game this season. He’s the reason why the Sixers look like world-beaters right now.
Power Forward - Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)
Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris has been on fire lately, with four straight 20-point games. He’s averaging 19.3 points and 8.0 rebounds on the year while scorching the net from 3-point range at 47.2 percent this season.
On a squad that needs three-point shooting to keep up with the best teams in the league, Harris opens up the lanes for this Sixers squad with his long-range bombs.
Small Forward - Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
In our combined starting 5, we decided to move Ben Simmons to the small forward spot to put together the most talented team we can come up with.
Much has been made about Simmons’ abhorrence to shoot the three, but that’s just not his game, no matter what critics may say.
Looking at his stats (13.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.4 blocks), one might think that Simmons is not playing well. However, his defense and the Philadelphia 76ers’ winning percentage are huge testaments to his value in the franchise.
Shooting Guard - Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
For the second straight season, Bradley Beal is averaging over 30 points per game for the Washington Wizards. If the season were to end today, he would have career-highs in scoring (30.6 points per game) and steals (1.6). His rebounds (5.0) and assists (4.7) are also right up there among the best of his career.
To show just how valuable Beal is to this Wizards team, consider the fact that Washington won its first game this season against the Minnesota Timberwolves, with Russell Westbrook resting.
The two-time All-Star poured in 31 points and dished out seven assists, including the pass to teammate Thomas Bryant that produced the game-deciding bucket for the Washington Wizards.
Point Guard - Russell Westbrook (Washington Wizards)
After almost two years without an All-Star partner-in-crime in the Washington Wizards backcourt, Bradley Beal now has a former MVP to run with this season.
Russell Westbrook has struggled to shoot from the field earlier this season but he is once again averaging a triple-double with 20.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 11.8 assists.
As he gets comfortable with his new team and learns to work better with his teammates, expect Westbrook to shoot better from the floor.
His energy is infectious, and once the team grows into its new identity with a new floor leader, other teams should watch out.
Published 06 Jan 2021, 13:42 IST