Philadelphia 76ers

‘Who says they surpassed us?' Embiid reacts to Celtics and Bucks trades

"I believe any team that I'm on, we're always going to have a chance."

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It was an exciting offseason for fans of several NBA teams, most notably the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics.

The Bucks swung a blockbuster trade to acquire point guard Damian Lillard last week. The Celtics acquired center Kristaps Porzingis in a June trade and just this past weekend acquired point guard Jrue Holiday in a trade.

The Celtics and Bucks are seen as the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Oddsmakers think that, and so do many fans and media around the league.

One team that didn't have a fun summer was the Philadelphia 76ers. They didn't make any substantial roster improvements, and the James Harden situation still hasn't been resolved.

When asked Monday at 76ers Media Day about the Celtics and Bucks having surpassed Philly, reigning league MVP Joel Embiid dismissed that notion and explained that each team must prove it on the court.

"Who says they surpassed us? We still gotta go out there and compete," Embiid said. "You can whatever you want off the court, but you still gotta go out there and put the ball in the hoop. I believe any team that I'm on, we're always going to have a chance. You just need to be a little bit lucky, you need to stay healthy, and as a team just come together.

"We've never had consistency. Every summer it's been changes here and there. I feel like at some point, if you want to win, you need to have that consistency. I think that's the next step for us. You see the other teams. Denver just won a championship. They've been together for so many years. Golden State has been doing it for a long time. You need to be consistent."

Embiid also was asked about his tweet Sunday following the Holiday trade.

"I thought it was fun. Just seeing the interaction around the league, guys getting traded left and right," Embiid said. "Teams getting better and making it tougher for every other team. I thought it was fun looking at the back-and-forth between fans. You got Miami fans who are mad and you got Milwaukee fans who are happy. And now you got Boston fans who are happy. That's what I saw, and I thought it was fun."

The Sixers are without a doubt a tier below both the Celtics and Bucks. The Celtics have been to the conference finals in three of the last four years, including an NBA Finals appearance during that span. The Bucks won the 2021 NBA Finals and finished the 2022-23 regular season with the league's best record.

The Sixers, meanwhile, haven't advanced past the second round since 2001, and they can't seem to get past the Celtics, either. Philly has lost to Boston in the playoffs in 2018, 2020 and 2023.

Until the Sixers can get to the conference finals and prove they can beat the Celtics in May, they won't be looked at as a real title contender.

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