Philadelphia sits on top of the East at 14-6, with a top-five defense, an MVP candidate in Joel Embiid, other players such as Tobias Harris stepping up, and they now have a signature win having beat the Lakers. If you’re discussing contenders who can come out of the East, Philadephia has earned being in the conversation with Milwaukee, Brooklyn, and anyone else.
The 76ers’ new GM, Daryl Morey, has set the bar high, telling Stephen A. Smith on ESPN that this team is championship or bust (hat tip CBS Sports).
“I think we’re pretty championship or bust I have to say,” Morey said. “Doc Rivers obviously has won one. I haven’t gotten there yet. Joel and Ben haven’t gotten there yet. But, you know, I think you do this, you go into every season, hoping to win the title, not a lot of teams have a chance, but we absolutely have a chance and we’re going to continue to work hard so we give ourselves the best chance possible. And I think we have a very good chance.”
It’s good to see Morey being up front about his 76ers rather than providing caveats and talking around the point. It may come off as brash, it may backfire, but I would rather have a GM say this and put some pressure on the organization than spout cliches about work needing to be done and team unity.
It’s early, and every team in the East — frankly, every contender other than the Lakers — has questions to answer. Philly’s questions are about health and an offense that overall has been pretty pedestrian this season (14th in the league in net offensive rating, using Cleaning the Glass stats that filter out garbage time). There’s work to be done.
But at least Morey is setting the bar high.