The “Broad Street Bullies”: The 76ers Are Quickly Establishing a Fierce Identity

Joel Embiid
Oct 28, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) celebrates after a victory against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

After years of rotating through players, shuffling around draft picks, and changing front office personnel left and right, the Philadelphia 76ers are finally establishing a form of identity. Following a 4-0 start which included a dominant season-opening win against the Boston Celtics, the stat sheets are quickly showing a trend of basketball that Philly is attempting to play.

Through four games, the Sixers currently rank first in the NBA in steals per game, rebounds per game, post-ups per game, and loose balls recovered per game. Additionally, they rank third in blocks per game, second in personal fouls per game, fourth in deflections, and sixth in offensive paint touches.

76ers Playing Old School Ball

Just by taking a glance at these numbers, it’s pretty clear the type of culture Brett Brown is creating in Philadelphia. Defense, physicality, and hard-nosed “old school” style basketball. Plus, after an offseason in which general manager Elton Brand prioritized size and defending above all else, it appears the front office is on board as well.

Outside of the stat sheet, this new-look Sixers group is imposing their will in other ways as well. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons participated in quite the scuffle during the team’s victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Whether you approve of instances like this, you cannot deny the positive mental impact it has on a locker room.

When questioned about the fight, head coach Brett Brown responded with, “…it’s our creed. It’s ‘Philly Hard’ and it’s ‘Philly Edge’. There’s an authenticity to it and it’s real…There is a spirit amongst our team that’s authentic. You can pick a few buckets to put that incident in, as well as the team responding as they did.” 

Brown is frustrated over his star being suspended. However, he no doubt sees the benefits of having a full team that can back up the physicality.

Embiid referred to himself as a “Broad Street Bully” following the game, and it’s easy to agree with this sentiment. As the 76ers continue to dominate the “ugly stats” of the game of basketball, the results are speaking for themselves. At 4-0, Philadelphia remains the only undefeated team left in the NBA.

Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports