Experts around the league expect the Philadelphia 76ers to make the playoffs. Bleacher Report predicts the team to go 41-41 with 66/1 odds of winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Despite the positive predictions, there are several factors that will ultimately decide the fate of the team, particularly health.
If Embiid misses big time, Simmons doesn’t live up to the hype and Fultz performs underwhelmingly, there’s a very big chance they end up back in the lottery. If this happens, a dark cloud of mystery and uncertainty will loom over the franchise. So what happens if the 76ers don’t make the playoffs?
This year will be the first time in Brett Brown’s 4 year tenure as head coach that he will have a strong roster with depth at every position. He has gained a respectable reputation from fellow coaches and players despite his 75-253 (.229 win percentage) career coaching record.
His player development is phenomenal (example: Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes) and he has consistently stayed positive despite the patchy spots of “The Process”. If the Sixers don’t make the postseason, Bryan Colangelo’s first step of action should be to examine his coaching staff. He might determine that Brett Brown is the wrong coach to lead the young team into battle.
Everyone knows Joel Embiid missed his first two seasons because of injuries. He also only played 31 games in his debut season due to a knee injury. Bryan Colangelo and the leaders of the Sixers franchise believe Embiid can be the face of the future and carry them into championship contention. But what if Embiid continues to get injured and proves the “Greg Oden 2.0” chanters right? If Embiid misses time next season due to more injuries, the Sixers could see themselves out of the playoff race as well as questioning themselves whether to resign him next offseason.
Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are in charge of running the Sixers offense. That’s a pretty big task for two rookies. They are certainly capable of doing it together, but what if they can’t?
They are both used to having the ball in their hands. Fultz isn’t known for being a catch-and-shoot type of player and Simmons hasn’t shown that he can be productive off the ball.What if they butt heads on the court?
If any of these things happen, Bryan Colangelo will have to re-evaluate his team and decide what he has to do to get the team into the playoffs.
If Embiid misses major time or Simmons and Fultz don’t gel well together, Colangelo will find himself in quite the sticky pickle. Like mentioned previously, the Sixers might not want to sign Embiid to a big extension next offseason if he shows that he can’t stay healthy. An Embiid-less Sixers team would certainly leave some gaping holes that would need to be filled.
Say Simmons and Fultz’s games don’t mesh well together. Does Colangelo move one of them for a more complimentary piece to the other? Does he trade one of them and some more assets for a star on the trade block that could catapult them into playoff contention?
So many things can happen for the Sixers. They should make the playoffs, but if they don’t, Bryan Colangelo and the team will have to quickly figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.
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