The Philadelphia 76ers have emerged as the team to beat in the NBA. Despite losing their first game of the season, they went on to win eight consecutive games, achieving their best start to a season since 2000-01. Although they recently stumbled with losses to the Celtics and Pacers, they still hold a solid 10-3 record, trailing only the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings.
A major contributor to the 76ers' success is the dynamic play of young talents Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid, the reigning MVP. Let's take a closer look at the numbers behind their impressive start to the 2023-24 season.
One significant statistic is their improved pace of play. Under new head coach Nick Nurse, they have become the 15th fastest team in the league, a significant improvement from last season when they ranked 27th. With Tyrese Maxey leading the charge as the primary ball handler, the 76ers have excelled in fastbreak points, ranking first in the league with 19.2 per game.
Joel Embiid's passing has also experienced a notable improvement. While Tyrese Maxey has taken on the playmaking role, Embiid has showcased better passing, especially when faced with double teams. With an average of 6.2 assists per game, Embiid currently ranks third among centers in that category.
On both ends of the court, the 76ers have displayed a balanced performance. They boast the league's third-best offense and seventh-best defense, resulting in an impressive net rating of 8.9, the second highest in the league. Despite some new additions to the roster and a new head coach, the team has embraced Nurse's system wholeheartedly, becoming one of the toughest defensive teams in the NBA. Led by Embiid's presence in the paint, they have excelled in closing out shooters, making defensive rotations, and displaying tenacity. They rank 10th in loose balls recovered and ninth in deflections.
A standout star for the 76ers this season has been Tyrese Maxey. The fourth-year guard has emerged as the team's offensive leader, increasing his scoring average by an impressive 6.5 points. With a career-high 50-point game already under his belt, Maxey is currently averaging 26.8 points, 7.1 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game. His shooting splits of .475/.446/.953 further demonstrate his impact on the team. In fact, his performance has earned him a place alongside NBA legends Larry Bird and Stephen Curry as the only players in history to average at least 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists on 50/40/90 shooting splits through the first nine games of a season.
The Philadelphia 76ers are undoubtedly the team to watch this season. With their improved pace, better passing, and balanced performance, they have become a formidable force in the NBA. Led by the sensational play of Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid, they are on track to have a memorable season.