For all of the nonsense of the past year in the world of the Philadelphia 76ers, it was a shame to watch it come down to Kawhi Leonards last second, buzzer beater, bouncing around the rim and finally dropping in to send the Sixers home, again. As disheartening as the loss was and I’m sure that there are tons of fans that are making it seem like the end of the world, it’s truly not. The future is bright in Philly. But this offseason is the most crucial since the whole “process” started.
Brett Brown returns
First things first, Brett Brown is coming back. The team announced that he would be back next year as the head coach of the team. Is that a good or a bad thing? For quite a while I’ve been vocal about what I think of Brown. I don’t believe that he makes good choices, nor do I think that he puts the players in the best places to succeed. He’s constantly talking about how much he enjoys Joel Embiid shooting three-pointers. He talks about Ben Simmons as if he has no issue with him not shooting any jumpers or three-pointers. He has made questionable substitutions, poor play calls and my general feeling is that he’s not leading the team but rather allowing the team to get by on talent alone.
That only goes so far in the NBA, apparently, the limit is the second round of the playoffs. With that being said, Brown is coming back, for next year at least, but I imagine his leash will be a short one. Hopefully, as the players are expected to improve, so too is the coach. Not just in the wins column but actually develop and improve as a coach. His first move needs to be forcing Simmons to be an active and aggressive part of the offense. Tell him to shoot the ball. Don’t recommend. Don’t ask. Tell him that you expect him to shoot the ball. With that, he needs to allow Simmons to be in control of the offense. The days of Simmons bringing the ball up and handing off to Embiid need to be left in the past. Simmons is an extraordinary passer in the league and his height and talent will allow him to control the game whereas Embiid is not as gifted with the ball in his hands. It causes Simmons to be a statue on offense and Embiid has way too many turnovers trying to put the ball on the floor.
Secondly, put Embiid in the low post and leave him there. There will be times that Embiid can be out on the perimeter but he would destroy almost anyone in his way if his game was in the low post. Like it or not, Brown is here this year, so we might as well get behind the coach because the players all love playing for him.
Joel Embiid needs a nutritionist. It doesn’t matter what happens with his game right now, Embiid needs someone to make sure his diet is one that’s built around an athlete. If anyone sees him stretching on the sidelines, prior to games, while eating double cheeseburgers or Chik-Fil-A sandwiches, they need to slap them out of his hand. He needs to make a commitment to his health and physical shape. Too many times, as the season progressed, Embiid was tired, winded or flat-out out of shape. That’s not what you want, nor expect, from the face of this franchise. After a few years of injuries, he was relatively healthy this year, but he is far from in great shape. That should be his priority this offseason. After that, continue to work on his post moves, his dribbling, and his shooting. He can be one of the most dominant players in the league if he can continue to stay healthy and be active on the floor. His focus needs to be on becoming the player everyone knows that he can be.
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Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports