Oct 20, 2022 - Sports

How to fake it: Philadelphia 76ers' 2022-23 season

Sixers' stars James Harden and Joel Embiid

Sixers guard James Harden and center Joel Embiid; Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty

"Here come the Sixers"! Fans hope to hear a lot more of that old-school anthem played after every home win as the team enters the 2022-23 campaign.

Driving the news: The 76ers — a hot, though unlikely, contender to win the NBA Finals — hung tough against defending Eastern Conference champs the Boston Celtics on Tuesday but lost their season opener 126-117.

  • They take on the Milwaukee Bucks at home tonight at 7:30pm.

If you find yourself in a packed room of diehard fans, here's what you need to know to carve out a little space for yourself a la Sixers guard James Harden with his arsenal of mind-melting stepback jumpers:

Flashback: The Sixers flamed out of the playoffs last year in the second round for the fourth time in five years.

State of play: It's the second season together for All-Star center Joel Embiid and Harden, aka The Beard, who was acquired from the Nets last season in a blockbuster trade that saw Ben Simmons shipped out of Philly.

  • Harden, in the best shape of his life after exaggeratedly claiming to have dropped 100 pounds in the offseason, anchors the new look backcourt for the Sixers. The team already had another solid guard in Tyrese Maxey, but they're better this year after adding P.J. Tucker, De'Anthony Melton and Danuel House to the roster.
  • Embiid stands to be a beast again, coming off a runner-up MVP season in which he averaged almost 31 points per game.

If you're at the work water cooler the day after a big Sixers win, slide by colleagues with Euro step-shimmy combo as you shout, "Buckets! How bout that dude Harden?" His always coiffed beard and pizazz-filled play make him a fan favorite.

  • Plus, he's pretty good on the hardwood, averaging 21 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds over 21 games with Philly last season. He also seems to have a good sense of humor, as in a league full of fashionistas, he showed up to the arena in Tuesday's opener looking like Sulley from Monsters, Inc.

The intrigue: Tucker adds more offensive firepower to the mix, as a prolific 3-point shooter who made 42% of his threes last year.

  • He's among a troupe of former Houston Rockets players brought to Philly by president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, also an ex-Houston compatriot who popularized a "Moneyball"-style analytics-based approach to basketball.

Yes, but: Morey's teams have had about as much success winning NBA championships as the executive has been at not getting parking tickets.

  • If you're with the crew and late for a home game, tell them you're pulling a "Daryl Morey special," park right outside the stadium, and slip a $50 bill in the window to ward off the meter maid. Given PPA's stellar history, and residents' 76ers fandom, it might work.

Circle your calendar: Nothing like heckling an old flame. Nov. 22 is when Ben Simmons returns to the Wells Fargo Center.


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