It's been nearly a week since the 2020-2021 NBA season tipped off. Last Wednesday, the Philadelphia 76ers took the court for the first time to go up against the Washington Wizards. Although the game started slow, Philly came out on top with a victory as the team rallied in the final quarter.
After winning at home for the first time this year, the Sixers hit the road for a back to back. The first matchup occurred on Saturday night against the New York Knicks in an empty Madison Square Garden. Although the 76ers looked a lot better to start, they never allowed the Knicks to come close by the time the second half started.
Like last season, Philly got off to a 2-0 start before hitting a road bump in Cleveland against the Cavaliers. For the first time this year, the Sixers played without their starting center Joel Embiid. As expected, Philly struggled. Although they should've been able to handle the Cavs without Embiid -- they got destroyed both on offense and defense, taking their first loss of the season.
Now, with nearly a week's worth of evidence in the books, several top publications are putting together their first regular-season power rankings of the year. While the 76ers didn't have a lot of flash to them, they fared well so far this year.
Nearly Top Five From ESPN
Rank: No. 6
"It has been a disappointing opening week for Philadelphia under Doc Rivers, as the 76ers looked fairly unimpressive in beating the Wizards and Knicks before getting routed by the Cavaliers. Something else to monitor is Joel Embiid's back, as he was a late scratch from Sunday's game in Cleveland with back tightness." - Tim Bontemps of ESPN
Overreactions From The Athletic
Rank: No. 8
"This team flat-out can’t compete with Joel Embiid out of the game. The numbers over the first two games wouldn’t exactly prove this to be true, but look how they got dominated when they played without Embiid against Cleveland." - Zach Harper of The Athletic
The Ringer Likes the Space
Rank: No. 7
"What a glorious time for Sixers fans. Daryl Morey, the man with the calculator, has brought spacing to Philadelphia. The only thing stopping the Sixers from being really good is the health of Joel Embiid, who missed Sunday’s game with back tightness. At 100 percent, Embiid could have a career-best season with his new teammates." - Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer.
CBS Sports Isn't Buying Yet
Rank: No. 14
"Despite the addition of Danny Green and Seth Curry this offseason to open up the floor, the Sixers offense has been an absolute slog, relying on Embiid's 28 points per game in the two wins. Doc Rivers (and possibly Daryl Morey) clearly have a lot more tinkering to do if the 76ers are going to move into the championship conversation." - Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports
Top Five From Bleacher Report
Rank: No. 5
"Even though they added better shooters this offseason, the shots have not fallen yet. That might be more of a small sample size issue. Over the long run they should find the range in Rivers' offense. The bigger issue for the Sixers is whether they can find a way to win games when Embiid sits." - Mo Dakhill of Bleacher Report