30 Things That Are Wrong With the Sixers Right Now

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler dropped 38 points as the Heat wiped the floor with Philadelphia on Monday night, winning by 31 points in a game that was not very competitive.

That means your team, your town, your 76ers are now 9-18 on the road, just 31-20 overall and 12 games behind Milwaukee as we kick off February. It’s not where anybody expected this squad to be, and it’s truly disappointing. It’s really bad, another three-game losing streak with the Bucks on tap Thursday night and the trade deadline fast approaching.

In lieu of a traditional recap right now, since nobody would read that garbage, here are 30 problems with the Sixers as of February 4th, 2020:

  1. The pieces don’t fit. The starting lineup is essentially two centers, two power forwards, and a shooting guard.
  2. They aren’t a good three point shooting team (34.9%, tied for 19th in the NBA).
  3. They need more dynamic guard play, somebody who can put the ball on the floor and create off the dribble.
  4. Tobias Harris is not impacting the game like a guy on a five year, $180 million contract.
  5. Al Horford is completely out of place and is shooting too many threes. Last year in Boston, he took 203 threes in 68 games. This year, he’s already up to 199 in 46 games (and only hitting at 32.2%).
  6. Josh Richardson’s absence isn’t helping anything.
  7. Brett Brown is quickly approaching Mark Jackson territory, which is to say that it feels like this team needs a change just for the sake of a change. Sometimes things get stale and you need a clean break, somebody to come in and challenge players who have seemingly tuned out their coach or need a kick in the ass.
  8. Brett’s “pace and space” philosophy worked much better with previous iterations of the roster (JJ Redick and a true stretch four). You can’t play his motion offense with this team.
  9. There’s no true offensive identity. they aren’t a tempo team and they aren’t a three point shooting team. They’re definitely not playing bully ball.
  10. Joel Embiid still really struggles with double teams.
  11. Ben Simmons exacerbates the problem due an unwillingness and/or inability to shoot.
  12. There isn’t enough near side flashing to help Embiid outlet without making risky cross-court passes.
  13. Furkan Korkmaz, James Ennis, and Mike Scott are inconsistent off the bench.
  14. Trey Burke and Raul Neto are in and out of the lineup for wonky periods of time, to the point where neither guy is really contributing enough on a regular basis.
  15. Matisse Thybulle is young and still raw, especially on the offensive side, where he shot 22% from three during the month of January.
  16. Zhaire Smith is raw on both ends, still an uber-athletic guy with upside, but needs time.
  17. Kyle O’Quinn is barely playing, and not doing much when he actually is on the floor.
  18. Shake Milton is not an NBA starter at this point in his career. Nice young player who can certainly contribute, but not a starter.
  19. This team fouls too much, especially on the road, where they rank dead last in the NBA.
  20. When left to their own devices, the Sixers simply try to post up, post up, and post up. They had a good thing going for a little while with Brown slowing things down and dialing up more plays. It helped the turnover numbers and added some structure to the offense (also helped that Embiid was out).
  21. Redick was a very good complement for Joel, who is a smart DHO screener. His traditional pick and roll screening, flipping, rolling, and popping is nascent.
  22. The youngest players on the team are the longest tenured. The older veterans have been here for five seconds. That makes for a funky leadership and locker room ecosystem, actually the total opposite of what you’d typical find in a locker room.
  23. There’s been too much turnover year to year. Embiid and Simmons have played on 4-5 different teams already. The lack of continuity also puts a lot of stress on the coaching staff, who barely get any practice time in Camden during the season (there’s not enough practice time overall, because the 82-game schedule is too clustered).
  24. This is a poor free-throw shooting team.
  25. They still look awkward and uncomfortable playing against zone defense.
  26. I don’t know if these guys have championship DNA. Simmons plays hard pretty much every night but disappears in the fourth quarter from time to time while being a half court liability. Embiid is up and down with his commitment and desire to win and his body language looks bad at times. Not sure there’s enough “dog” in this team.
  27. Does Joel really truly love the game of basketball? I’m not sure he does. The Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal episode I thought may have changed that, but Embiid has sort of gone back and forth with various quotes this year regarding the topic of “how much do you want it?”.
  28. Sometimes this team struggles with the concept of optics. Going to the Super Bowl and chilling at a Miami pool alongside a supermodel might not have any tangible effect on your on-court performance whatsoever, but older fans particularly will say things like, “well here they are, out and about the night before a game!” It’s kind of a dumb thing, but it’s a ‘thing’ nonetheless, so don’t make it a thing if you can help it.
  29. If the Process era was progressing too slowly, then the post-Process era is progressing too quickly. I understand that ownership and fans were getting antsy and wanted to start winning, but we jumped into a basketball wormhole, which raised expectations on Simmons and Embiid almost right out of the gate. Elton Brand started burning through assets in order to “win now” and correct Bryan Colangelo errors. Now the well is drying out with only two second-round exits to show for it (and perhaps a third coming soon).
  30. As such, I get the sense that even the most ardent Hinkie and Brett Brown supporters, that younger-trending demographic of Sixers fans, are starting to wobble a bit. I don’t see as much blind defense of the team on social media as I used to see.

Other than those items I listed, it’s all good right now! We’ll see what Elton can do at the deadline, which is a few hours before Thursday’s tip off in Milwaukee. The Bucks are likely looking to avenge that Christmas Day loss and bury a team that’s supposed to be their biggest matchup challenge en route to the finals. Could get pretty ugly if this squad continues the run they’re on.

Good morning!


27 Responses

  1. Where all the Mike Scott Hive people at now?

    Guy is ATROCIOUS.

  2. Ben is right he is soft. Embiid is mind numbing soft player who has never been in shape. Brand has put together a great team if this was the big east in the eighties. And Brett Brown sucks now sucked before and after he finally gets fired will be coaching in Australia.

  3. Michael Rubin reminds me of a adult flick director .Anybody see him running routes with meek mill at super bowl

    1. Michael Rubin loves pandering to the bl*cks – i think he is a loser

  4. Team is brutal! Kink nice work. The only correction I will say is that you said they would be out in the second round. This team as of today is done in round one. Their entire demeanor is soft and lazy. Butler was running down balls all night! Biggest fear is Brand does something dumb to win now when its clear they are at least two years away!

  5. I think Embiid’s up and down love of the game is related to losing his brother and where basketball fits in the grand scheme of things. Which may be why he has looked lost since Kobe’s death.

    For everyone wanting Brown gone, who would be a better coaching fit and whip this team into shape? Lots of retread coaches out there and this team doesn’t need a first-time coach. Who takes Brown’s place?

    1. I’ve asked myself the same question about Brett’s replacement and I also don’t know. I don’t love the idea of firing him without a good replacement plan. However, at this point, I also don’t think that it would really change much. 9-18 on the road is truly horrible and shows a lack of maturity and accountability that the coach is responsible for overseeing.

  6. Whole team is soft and there is no accountability. Ben is being coached by his dad’s friend and can get away with not listening to him. Team is afraid to actually make Joel do anything because he’s a diva. Al horford got paid big bucks by his friend who is cosplaying as an NBA GM. Brown should’ve been fired by now. Can’t make adjustments. He’s been an nba head coach for 7 years and he can’t figure out how to defend a pick and roll. Awful stint as interim GM too.

  7. Where is Embiid’s leg strength? Finger injuries don’t keep you off the treadmill and leg press machine. He is completely off balance on offense, getting bailed out by some “star” calls last night. And I have never seen so many opponent finishes at the rim while he was in game. He looks likes he hasn’t played in 4 months, when he was barely out 3 weeks. Is this it? Are we approaching Greg Oden territory faster than expected?

  8. 9-18 on the road?

    Their road record this year is almost as bad as Carson Wentz’s lifetime record against .500 and above teams.

    1. I’ve been putting him in the ball of Fame since his mediocre rookie campaign. This simply will not do!

  9. For the love of god, fire Brown ASAP and get somebody who will light a fire under these guys. If a hard nose coach can’t get Ben to shoot or Joel under the basket then it was never meant to be. But before blowing the whole thing up at the trade deadline (again) lets find out if BB was the problem first.

  10. Nice work for a change, but we can narrow the reasons down to ownership. They had no spine and accepted the league forcing Hinkie out. For almost 5 years now, you guys have had one of the bottom tier, if not complete worst, front office in the league. What’s more, you still have most of the same dudes from the Colangelo era in the front office. That’s a recipe for an overrated treadmill team and sure enough the proof is in the pudding.

  11. This all comes back to the ownership group of the team having no spine and bailing on The Process and Hinkie despite knowing and signing off on it from the start. Hinkie was a methodical planner who never would have burned through our assets so quickly through ridiculous trades and free agent signings. He also likely knew that Brett Brown was not the coach who would get them over the hump. It’s amazing to think that we lost the guy with the plan who put the organization in the position to succeed and are stuck with the guy who looks clueless on the sidelines every night and who none of the players are listening to at all. Thanks a lot, Josh Harris!

  12. First Fire Brett Brown, Do a mega trade that includes : Embidd , and build around Ben and new young talent . Process 2.0

  13. Optics are not a dumb thing …it’s what is truly at the heart of the problem. It’s why guys like Kobe and Brady win six championships and guys like Iverson are remembered as great individual talents. They had a chance to prove to everyone they are committed by going to a city like Miami, being grownups and realizing it’s a business trip and they blew it. They showed everyone who they are and what they care about …

  14. Michael Rubin is a creepy dude.
    His “friendship” with Meek Mill is beyond embarrassing.
    You know the brothers are laughing behind this (((tool’s))) back.

  15. Once Meek & his Homies don’t need Rubin anymore; they will quit him like an honest job.

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