So What Exactly is Wrong with the Sixers?
So what exactly is wrong with the Sixers?
23-2 at home.
9-19 on the road.
Poor roster construction, clunky offensive fit apparently only applies on the road. When at home they turn into a tough-minded defensive team, that can hit knock-down open looks.
So who exactly are the Sixers?
"To some extent what they are going through is kind of predictable," ESPN NBA insider Kevin Pelton said on The Sports Bash.
"Their size is a big factor on the defensive end. We saw that last year in the playoffs, we saw it on Christmas day against Milwaukee, the way they can make life very difficult for opponents.
"It also makes things very difficult for them at times on the offensive end," he continued.
How much of these issues this team has lay at the feet of head coach Brett Brown?
A polarizing figure among Sixers fans on social media. Brown is nightly a target when the team doesn't play well, yet rarely gets credit when the team is victorious. Lose to Orlando and Atlanta - Brown needs to go. Beat the Lakers ans Bucks, very little credit is given to the head coach.
"I don't lay a lot of these issues at Brett Brown's feet," Pelton said. But it seems very likely the way things are headed, he's going to be the scapegoat."
"I don't know what coach you're going to bring in that is going to resolve the fact that you have Joel Embiid, who is best in the post. You have Ben Simmons who is best with the ball in his hands. Then you bring in another big man in Al Horford - there is a duplication of skills."
"A coaching change is not going to resolve those issues."
How Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Al Horford all fit together moving forward might be the key to unlocking the best out of the Sixers, but hat about the role Elton Brand has played in putting this team together?
"We see the vision for what he was laying out here," Pelton acknowledged. "It has worked out at times. You go back last's years playoffs, and how close this team was to getting to the Eastern Conference Finals. "
After adding Butler in November, the team made another trade adding Tobias Harris at the trade deadline, giving Brown essentially three different rosters to work with last season, and forcing Simmons and Embiid to try and mesh with yet another set of teammates.
The Sixers changed their roster again this offseason after coming up short against Toronto.
Swapping out J.J. Redick and Jimmy Butler with Josh Richardson and Al Horford. Redick was a knock-down shooter, Butler a fearless scorer who was willing to take the big-shot. Richardson is a solid defender and good offensive player, but doesn't hit the jumper with the same consistency as Redick and isn't ready for the late game moment like Butler at this point. Horford is a steady offensive player who is trying to find his role in this offense.
The team did just add a pair of shooters, Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III from Golden State. Their shooting might be able to help the Sixers on the offensive end of the floor, by providing more space for the Sixers bigs to operate.
"They won't be the saviors, but they definitely fit, and they definitely help," Pelton explained. "There was a lot of interest in Derrick Rose by Philadelphia, but if you look at what Burks has done, its actually quite similar to Rose - but he (Burks) is an above average 3-point shooter. Robinson III is a solid upgrade over what they were getting from James Ennis in that spot. He's a better 3-point shooter and a bigger, more physical defender."
When this team was put together it was with the playoffs in mind. We heard this was a roster that was built for the playoffs, where the game slows down, and defense steps up. The Sixers size would give teams issues, and allow them to frustrate opposing offenses.
"I think so," Pelton says about the team being built for the style of basketball in the playoffs. When they are extremely motivated and locked in on the defensive end of the court, the size they put out there becomes more of an issue."
So when April comes around, which Sixers will we see? The home team that looks like a title contender, or the road team that looks like a first round exit?
I don't think anyone has the answer to that question.
Check back in April.