The Philadelphia 76ers ended their 2021-2022 season on a low note. After earning the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference just one season after garnering the top spot in the regular season, the Sixers engaged in a tough matchup with the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs.
Toronto proved to be a formidable squad, but Philly managed to put them away in six games. Once the 76ers defeated the Raptors, they entered a seven-game series against the top-seeded Miami Heat.
Without Joel Embiid on the court for the first two games of the series, the Sixers fell short to the Heat and entered an 0-2 hole. When masked Embiid returned for Games 3 and 4, the Sixers tied the series up with two-straight victories.
Game 5 was ugly for Philly as they took on a 35-point loss on the road. As the Sixers fought for their season at home for Game 6, their effort wasn’t strong enough as they fell short for the fourth and final time. Once again, the 76ers failed to go beyond the second round of the playoffs.
Entering the 2022 offseason, Daryl Morey and the Sixers’ front office knew they had to prioritize bringing James Harden back — whether through his player option or a new deal.
Fortunately for Philly, Harden’s decision to decline his nearly $50 million option led to the ten-time All-Star to return on a team-friendly contract.
Harden’s pay cut allowed the Sixers to make several critical moves in free agency, such as signing P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr. In addition, the Sixers made a draft night trade for Memphis Grizzlies veteran guard De’Anthony Melton.
While it seemed the Sixers were done making moves before training camp, they made a surprise signing a couple of weeks ago by bringing in the veteran center, Montrezl Harrell, on a two-year deal. Now, the 76ers look like a complete roster as they head into media day and training camp this week.
Stay tuned for live quotes and updates as the Sixers introduce new and returning players for the upcoming 2022-2023 season on Monday, beginning with an opening press conference involving Sixers President of Basketball Ops Daryl Morey and the head coach, Doc Rivers.
2022-2023 Media Day Live Updates
P.J. Tucker Injury Update
The Philadelphia 76ers announced that the newly-acquired veteran forward P.J. Tucker underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee during the offseason. He’s been cleared for on-court work and will participate in training camp in Charleston, South Carolina, according to team officials.
"We're not that concerned about it," said Doc Rivers regarding Tucker. "He's a guy that we're looking forward to having in the fold, and we're gonna keep him healthy all year. That's the goal."
"It was a late summer, ten-minute procedure," Morey added. "He's already back on the floor, and we're excited."
Morey Acknolwedges Tucker Investigation
Over the summer, the Sixers were one of two teams that the NBA launched an investigation against to look into possible tampering after the P.J. Tucker signing.
On Monday, Morey quickly shot down giving any in-depth updates regarding the situation. “On the NBA, in this case, it’s ongoing, so I can’t comment,” said Morey. “I’ll explain it later. The league office does an amazing job.”
Doc Rivers on New Additions
“I think they all fit in well,” said Rivers. “Each one of them fills a need in a lot of ways — shooting. P.J.’s leadership and his toughness. De’Anthony Melton plays dual positions and is a great defensive player with great hands and toughness. I thought we had a targeted summer, and we hit pretty much what we’re looking for.”
Rivers Discusses Backup Center Position
“This is the first year we don’t have a seven-footer as a backup,” Rivers said. “We had Dwight (Howard) and Drum (Andre Drummond). We have a collection of guys. We feel very comfortable in that row. Obviously, with PJ’s age and Joel with his size, we want to make sure he’s healthy. We want to do a better job on those games when some of those guys don’t play. We want to win those games. So, with the collection, you feel very comfortable with what we have.”
Praising Work Ethic
Doc Rivers had a lot of praise for Philadelphia guard Tyrese Maxey. Through his first two seasons in the NBA, Maxey established himself as one of the team’s hardest workers. On Monday, Rivers discussed Maxey’s work ethic and issued credit to a couple of other players as well.
“The work that he’s done with Sam (Cassell) and my son, Spencer (Rivers), has been amazing,” Rivers stated. “Between him, Paul Reed, and Matisse (Thybulle), no one has out-worked those three, I can guarantee you that. You know, that doesn’t guarantee that you put in all that work, and you still need another year for it to come through, but he’s done everything and more than we’ve asked him to do.”
James Harden on the Sixers' Chemistry
“We didn’t spend as much time as I wanted to,” said Harden. “This summer was really great for our entire team and our entire organization. We got a lot of work in and just hanging around each other, just catching our vibe.”
Harden on Conditioning
“At this point, it’s just dieting and getting proper rest,” said Harden. “For me, it’s just strengthening my muscles and gaining muscle mass. I always had it, but the last year and a half, I wasn’t healthy, and I couldn’t put in the proper work like I’m used to.
Embiid Offers an Update on Health
“I was in bed all summer,” he joked. “I’m feeling great. I’m healthy, I’m ready to go, and I’m ready to compete. It’s gonna be fun.”
Putting the Drama in the Past
When the Sixers gathered for media day last season, the team’s former three-time All-Star Ben Simmons was absent as he held out hope for a trade. Simmons’ hold-out led to Embiid fielding tons of questions regarding his former teammate. While Embiid grew annoyed with the Simmons drama last year, he avoided giving it any attention on Monday.
“Which drama?” Embiid asked when asked about last offseason’s issues. “I don’t remember any of that. Last year went quick.”
Tobias Harris Recalls Summer Sessions
“Just being able to be around each other and everybody was doing a good job and putting in some great work in the summer,” said Harris. “Just being able to be there and everybody can showcase what they are working on, and that’s how you build chemistry just being around each other, communication and talking. It was a great time out in LA. Those few days there were big for us.”