There is a lot of grumbling in Philly these days, and understandably so. The Sixers had been a team that some thought could go all the way. Instead, they got zilched by Boston. Granted, Ben Simmons going out with a knee injury didn’t help. But let’s face it. The team did not have any chemistry. And that itself is reason to grumble.
But the Sixers are not the only NBA franchise that has to wonder WTF happened this season. Liberty Ballers offers its list of NBA clunkers. And there are quite a few!
As interesting, are the teams that have not made it but that have reason to be optimistic about next season. My fav on that list – Brooklyn. KD and Kyrie equal awesome!
So what about the Sixers? Hmmm … Brett is out. So the first question is who will be the head coach. And FINALLY someone notices that the Sixers front office socks. Also Josh needs to step back and let a professional make trade decisions. And is Elton up to being a full time GM? There are lots of questions in how the team should be managed and coached.
And of course, there is the Al Horford issue. Bringing in Al for big bucks just did not pan out. The Sixers will likely shop Al, but who wants him? And for what? This will be a tough sell and an important one.
On the plus side, the Sixers ahve one first round pick, and a slew of second rounders. Derek B. thinks they should bring in at least 2 rookies. That should be interesting. Hopefully, the Sixers will figure out a way to better space the floor with players who can shoot and dribble.
And finally, a new coach will need to (1) get Joel to stick to his diet, and (2) get Ben to start shooting from the 3.
It was pretty clear that after the Boston sweep, Sixers coach Brett Brown was toast.
But we all know that firing Brown is not the solution to turn the Sixers around. The reality is that from the moment that hat Adam Silver intervened to stop the “process” that Sam Hinkey was engineering, the Sixers have made mistake after mistake. This squandered the treasure chest of available salary money and draft picks that Hinkie had amassed.
Who is to blame? First of all – Adam Silver. He shoved Jerry Colangelo down the Sixers throat, who in turn brought in his son as GM. And that opened the door to disastrous changes in the front office.
And now those dudes are scrambling to blame others for their screw ups.
For the Sixers to turn around, the Sixers need to get owner Josh Harris out of basketball decision making, and bring in a more professional front office. Will this happen?
I doubt it.
The Sixers destroyed the Rockets last night in a game that meant nothing to either team. That is the “news”. The analysis –— the Sixer bench looks pretty goo! And I love it when Furky is hitting form the outside!
Here is the big news
The Sixers are officially in #PlayoffMode. The first game of their first-round matchup against the Boston Celtics tips off on Monday (August 17) at 6:30 PM. The roster will be well-rested heading into the matchup with all of their starters playing minimal minutes in the past few games.
Ben Simmons will have knee surgery and is likely out for the season. Ouch!
And it is time to re-think Sixer strategy. The new look should be obvious. Surround Joel Embiid with shooters to space the floor. That means Shake, Tobias, Josh, and … Alec Burks. If Josh can’t hit, bring in Furky.
And what about Al Horford? Al is doing fine coming off the bend for Joel. He should stay in that role.
This may be the only way forward. Yes, the Sixers will be smaller and less defensively minded. But doing this may free up Joel to dominate even more.
Let’s see if Brett Brown goes this route!
The first thing that comes to mind when you are about to play the Wizards is that you need the W. After all, the Wizards are playing without their stars and field a cast of rookies and relatively unknowns.
But voila, there was good old Ish Smith on the floor, trying to show Philly fans once again that he can play ball. And Ish did well!
The Sixers got their W, but the Wizards made them work for it. They are the same sort of pesky team that Philly fielded early on in the Process days. Remember those?
These days, the Sixers have a lot more firepower And that is mainly in one dude – Joel Embiid. Joel dominated again, and btw, he is starting to get better at passing out of double teams.
Something else happened in this game. Errr … aside from Ben Simmons twisting his knee and exiting the game. The Sixers were pretty cold from the floor. And during the season, that spelled trouble. But in this game, they came back, and found the hot hand when they needed to.
A shout out goes to Shake Milton, who is the most reliable 3 point shooter on the team. Shake is upping his game, even starting to play a bit of defense. I loved how he sniffed Ish Smith on a drive to the hoop. Ish is still probably wondering how long Shake’s arms actually are! They are long!
So what does this game prove? Not that much. But the quality of play is slowly going up., even if the Sixer shooting and offensive spacing was not that great. And Alec Burks proved that he can give effective minutes off the bench. We may be seeing more of him and a bit less of Raul Netto going forward.
Onward to face the mMagic!
The Sixers&Spurs game the other night looked a lot like a pre-season game in a regular season. Sloppy. But then again, you would expect that given how little time the teams have had to sharpen up after the lockdown.
One question — why is it that other teams get very hot when they play the Sixers. Suddenly average shooters can’t miss. Journey men guards look like Oscar Robinson. What gives?
What can we take away from te Spurs games?
- Joel Embiid is a monster inside. He followed up his40/20 night with another great game. He did have a few turnovers, but he forced the Spurs to double team him every trip down the court. And Joel is getting better at dealing with double teams. In fact, it was the Spurs cheating down to cover Embiid that left Shake open for the 3 that won the game.
- Shake Milton came out of his funk. He is not fully “there” yet, but he started hitting shots and had a few good finishes at the rim. And btw, he won the game with his final 3 with 10 seconds to go. Boom! Take that doubters!
- Ben Simmons is still figuring out how to deal with his shift to the elbow. He was better than he was against the Pacers, but that isn’t saying much. He needs a break out game.
- Tobias has emerged as the most consistent creator on the offensive side. He is scoring as needed — and his scoring is often needed, as the Sixers are not great at running offensive plays — at least not yet.
- Josh hit some shots, but I am still not happy with his spacing on the offensive side. He needs to watch some tape to figure this out.
Tonight the Sixers take on the Wizards – who have lost 3 straight since coming back. Will the sixers take the next step up?
The game started off nicely. But this says it all
To recap: the Sixers were terrible on Saturday night. Their big starting lineup shakeup face-planted. Two starters threatened to ‘slap the sh*t’ out of each other. Ben Simmons displayed exactly none of the purported seismic shift in three-point willingness or aptitude. Al Horford looked like he was playing with cinder blocks tied to his shoes.
But Joel Embiid returned as the best version of Joel Embiid that we’ve seen this season. And with him, the Sixers have a fighting shot.
Do the Sixers have a chance to win it all this year?
Yes. Anything can happen in this shortened season end, playoff year. Well within limits, of course. The Knicks are not going to win it all.
So how would the Sixers do it? There are a few keys to watch for
- Sixers defensive intensity. The Sixers are not great at the offensive end of the court. But they can — and sometimes do — play smothering defense. Here is a peek at their defensive strategy. If they can play tough d, especially in the final minutes, they could go all the way.
- Jo Jo stays focused. Joel Embiid can be the most dominant big in the game. But he also can lose focus. If Joel can get into a groove, the Sixers can dominate the paint. If he doesn’t and they don’t, they are toast.
- Ben spaces the floor. Ben doesn’t need to take a lot of 3’s, but he does need to threaten them enough to pull out defenders to cover him in the corner. If he doesn’t, the Sixer offense will sputter and they will be on an early flight back to Philly.
- Shake proves he can play the point. Shake has had some big games, but he has never been under the type of pressure he will face now. Opposing teams will try to jazz him up. He needs to keep his cool, pop 3’s and keep the ball moving.
- The Sixers don’t go stone cold from outside. They do that from time to time. But in these few games, they need to snap out of it quickly. Whether it is Korky, Matisse, Burks, Robinson, or whoever, the Sixers need scoring from their wings.
Those are my keys. Would you add anything?