The Philadelphia 76ers will be trying to put their offseason drama behind them as they open up their season against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. The 76ers finished the 2020 season with a 49-23 record, which was the best in the Eastern Conference. The Pelicans finished with a 31-41 record, which was 11th in the Western Conference.
Philadelphia is 7-3 in its last 10 games against New Orleans.
76ers Hoping To Contend For TitleThe 76ers finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference last season, but they were knocked out by Atlanta in the conference semifinals. They are hoping for a better result this season, but the road to the title will be a tough one for them, with Brooklyn and Milwaukee playing in the same conference.
While the other top contenders in the league were improving their roster, the 76ers didn’t make a lot of moves in the offseason, bringing in role players like Andre Drummond and Georges Niang. They were unable to offload Ben Simmons in the offseason and will be without him for this game after getting kicked out of practice by head coach Doc River on Tuesday.
Philadelphia averaged 113.6 points per game last season, making 47.6 percent of their field goals and 30.1 percent of their three-pointers.
Joel Embiid led Philadelphia in scoring and rebounding, averaging 28.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, while Simmons led the team with 6.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
Philadelphia had one of the best defenses in the league last season, giving up 109.4 points per game. They will need to play very well on the defensive end if they want to get the win.
Pelicans Hoping For Playoff RunThe Pelicans finished with a losing record last season, but they were two games behind San Antonio, which clinched the final play-in spot. They are hoping to make the playoffs this season, which will be difficult in a stacked Western Conference.
The Pelicans didn’t get better in the offseason after losing Lonzo Ball to Chicago. They brought in Jonas Valanciunas to complement Zion Williamson, but they failed to land any of their big free-agent targets. With Williamson out for a while after offseason foot surgery, don’t expect much from the Pelicans until he returns.
New Orleans averaged 114.6 points per game last season, making 47.7 percent of their field goals and 30.4 percent of their three-pointers.
Williamson led the team in scoring, averaging 27 points per game. Josh Hart led the team with eight rebounds per game, while Brandon Ingram had 4.9 assists per game.
New Orleans struggled defensively, giving up 115.1 points per game. They didn’t really address their defensive issues in the offseason and will struggle again this season.
New Orleans is: N/A
Philadelphia is: N/A