The 2023–24 NBA season is now two weeks old and trends are starting to emerge. With most teams having played at least 10 games, we are beginning to see which will be good and which will struggle.
Although there is still time for teams to turn their season around, last year’s standings proved that early-season games still matter when it comes to making the playoffs or missing the cut. Thus far, there have been three standout teams that are proving to be even better than expected and may make noise this season. Meanwhile, there are also three teams that are in free fall and could struggle to turn their seasons around after a bad start. Let’s see which are which.
Skyrocketing NBA Team #3: Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers were largely written off heading into the 2023–24 season due to the drama surrounding former star James Harden. Not only that but the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks reloaded in the offseason, widening their talent gap between them and the Sixers. Then Philadelphia seemingly took less in a trade with the LA Clippers to offload Harden rather than wait for a better deal. However, that has proven to be incorrect.
The Sixers have started the season 8-1 and have the best record in the Eastern Conference. Without Harden, Philly has had a more balanced attack, with MVP Joel Embiid leading the charge, followed by a breakout year from Tyrese Maxey.
Add in a hot start from Tobias Harris and bargain signings Kelly Oubre Jr. and Philadelphia, and it might be far better than we all expected. They also have the potential to trade for a star thanks to the assets received in return for Harden, something many teams in their position don’t have. That means that they could build on their surprisingly strong start if a star becomes available. Encouraging start for the 76ers.