The Philadelphia 76ers trusted the process, but it didn’t end the way they wanted it to. Playing without their injured all-around point forward in Ben Simmons, the Sixers never stood a chance against the Boston Celtics and got swept.
It was absolutely an embarrassing early playoff exit especially with the championship aspirations that they had going into the season. But this is a resounding disappointment that will surely lead to major changes, something that the team needs for a while now.
Now that the Sixers are being given an early vacation, let’s look ahead to the potential offseason changes that the franchise should do for them to start a brand new process.
Find a way to get rid of Horford
Simmons’ lack of a mid to long-range shot already clogged the Sixers’ offense even before this season, so it was really astonishing why the team brought in another big man like Al Horford to their core. To make matters worse, Philly gave him a lucrative four-year, $109 million contract, a deal that a 34-year-old banged-up center should find it hard to live up to.
You don’t have to be a basketball expert to know that the Sixers messed up on the Horford signing. Mid-way through the season, the veteran center was demoted to a sixth man role. As a result, the team’s offense became more fluid with Simmons and Joel Embiid manning the frontcourt. Despite the lack of a jump shot in his game, Simmons’ creativity and vision dictate the Sixers’ flow on offense.
Philly primarily pursued Horford for the intangibles that he provides, particularly on the defensive end. But with Simmons already becoming an elite defensive anchor, they don’t need Horford’s services anymore. If the franchise still wants retain the Simmons-Embiid combo, Horford doesn’t have a place in the roster unless the team trades either one of their two young stars.
Move on from Brett Brown
Just moments after the devastating Game 4 loss to the Celtics, Sixers combo guard Josh Richardson immediately spilled his frustrations about Brown’s coaching. While he says that Brown is a “good man,” Richardson also reiterates that they need a leader who instils more accountability within the team. The former Miami Heat guard also went on to say that they need someone who will enforce consequences when a player doesn’t do his job on or off the court, a hint that could point out to Brown losing his voice in the Sixers’ locker room.
Having said that, it’s now time to move on from Brown. The former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach surely put the Sixers back on the NBA map, but it seemed like the team took a step back this season even before Simmons went down with the injury. Despite the fact that they already had consecutive playoff appearances, Embiid and Simmons are still relatively young. They need a coach with more credibility and experience, someone whose voice they will immediately respect.
It remains to be seen who the Sixers will tap to be in their candidate list, but the new coach that the team will hire should also dictate if they will continue riding the Embiid-Simmons tandem or break them up.