The Philadelphia 76ers have gone through plenty of ups and downs in the 2019-20 NBA season. Despite making some major roster upgrades last summer, the Sixers still struggled to become consistent on both ends of the floor and failed to live up to expectations from the team that was supposed to be one of the best in the Eastern Conference. However, there are still some people who believe that the Sixers have what it takes to capture the Larry O’Brien Trophy when the 2019-20 NBA season resumes on July 31, 2020.
In a recent video interview with Michael Barkann of NBC Sports Philadelphia, retired NBA players and Inside the NBA analyst Charles Barkley talked about the Sixers and his expectations for them in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. Despite their disappointing performance in the regular season, Barkley believes that the Sixers have a “legitimate chance” of winning the 2020 title, adding that he would be surprised if they don’t do well in the postseason.
Though he still recognized Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, Barkley thinks that any team that would face the Sixers’ squad with a healthy Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid would have a hard team winning in a best-of-seven series.
“I’ll tell you what, the one team in the Eastern Conference that scares the hell out of me — I don’t want to see Ben (Simmons) and Joel (Embiid) and Tobias Harris. I would not want to play the 76ers in the playoffs. … Other than Giannis (Antetokounmpo) — I want to make sure I don’t leave anybody out — the Sixers are going to have the best two players against any team in the Eastern Conference. With the exception of Giannis, any team they play in the Eastern Conference, they’re going to have the two best players on the court in every series — except against the Milwaukee Bucks.”
It’s hard to blame Barkley for betting on the Sixers. The Sixers may not have played well as a team during the regular season, but their two best players, Embiid and Simmons, were individually establishing an incredible performance on both ends of the floor. Before the NBA went on a hiatus due to the spread of coronavirus worldwide, Embiid was averaging 23.4 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.3 blocks while shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from beyond the arc, while Simmons was posting 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.2 assists, and 2.1 steals while shooting 58.5 percent from the field.
If Embiid and Simmons keep performing at a high level and manage to stay away from any major injuries, they are definitely capable of helping the Sixers make a deep playoff run. However, if they suffer a disappointing season, there are rumors that the Sixers would consider making a huge roster overhaul in the 2020 NBA offseason.