With a victory on Friday night against the Orlando Magic, the Philadelphia 76ers finally locked in the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. As expected, the Sixers are thrilled about their latest accomplishment, but they understand in all reality, they haven't achieved anything just yet.
But there's no reason to downplay ending the regular season on top. Just last year, the Sixers finished the season with a 43-30 record, which landed them in the sixth seed going into the playoffs before getting swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics.
At the beginning of last season, former Sixers head coach Brett Brown set a goal of becoming the East's top seed. Considering how much of a failure last year was, the Sixers made significant changes from the front office to the coaching staff, all the way down to the roster and its starting lineup.
Making changes is always a gamble in the NBA, and the Sixers went all in during the 2020 offseason. While winning the championship is the ultimate goal set by the team, the Sixers can at least say the gamble is starting to pay off, considering they haven't seeded this high since the Allen Iverson era.
76ers center Joel Embiid can take a lot of credit for helping his team get to where they are today, but he understands he certainly couldn't do it alone.
“We did it as a group,” said Embiid on Friday night after defeating the Orlando Magic. “It felt like everybody contributed. Offensively, just playing with each other, moving the ball, finding the right guys. Tobias (Harris) doing his thing, Ben (Simmons) doing his thing, me being dominant, and the bench coming in and pushing leads. [We have] a great coaching staff, a great front office. The group that we’ve had this year has been exceptional.”
With the new front office led by Daryl Morey and the new coaching staff under Doc Rivers, the Sixers managed to reach new heights in the regular season. Soon enough, we'll see just how far the exceptional group effort with the new regime can take the Sixers, who have been starving for a Finals appearance since the early 2000s.