Philadelphia 76ers: 3 reasons why Sixers will win the East with James Harden

Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Doc Rivers
Doc Rivers (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Sixers still have a top 10 defense without Ben Simmons; his loss on the defensive end has been survived schematically by the team

Throughout this whole process of Ben Simmons being away from the team, one of the biggest points of contentment was the defensive drop-off that the Sixers were going to experience. After all, losing an All-Defensive talent is never ideal. Although, I’m not sure they have been that much worse on the defensive end.

Last season, the Sixers had the second-best defense in the league with a 107 defensive rating. This year, with a 108.9 defensive rating, they’re ranked 10th. To put that in context: with the markings that they’ve had this season, they would’ve ranked 4th in last year’s NBA on defense.

Sure, the loss of Simmons’ defensive presence has been felt but Doc Rivers and the rest of the staff have done a great job in maintaining their above-average defense. James Harden is far from the defender that Simmons was but there’s hope this team can still be good enough on the defensive end where they could survive losing Simmons.