The Sixers are struggling, not only on the court but in the locker room as well. Players are taking not-so-veiled shots at one another, tuning out the coach, and complaining about roles/accountability. Currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Sixers are playing well beneath the expectation many felt before the start of the season. To be frank, there is not one issue or person to point to as the problem.
Ben Simmons refuses to shoot and has an arrogance about him that feels unmatched in the NBA. Joel Embiid has worked very hard this year and has a passion for this team to win. Embiid has also called out the front office for trying to change his style. Then there is Embiid vocally disapproving of Ben Simmons lack of shooting, not wrong on the surface, but the way he went about it so openly was not right.
There are few players without blame for the chemistry issues. Simmons and Embiid are at the forefront of distractions in the media. Focusing often on themselves, the team doesn’t seem to have the maturity needed to win in the NBA. The Sixers boast young stars and that is exciting for the future but the lack of maturity is certainly coasting them in the here-and-now.
Pride Before a Potential Fall?
Ben Simmons is an immensely talented player who is shortchanging himself from becoming a generational great. Simmons refuses to listen to anyone who asks him to leave his comfort zone. His own Coach Brett Brown publicly said that one three-pointer a game should be the minimum for Simmons and yet Simmons has yet to shoot a three since.
Simmons is happy just being an All-Star and doesn’t feel the need to progress his game. There are few things more frustrating than watching people with unlimited potential waste it.
The Airing of Grievances
Many players have been vocal to the media about issues with the team. Joel Embiid recently said that the team as a whole needs to adjust even if it’s uncomfortable. According to Embiid, “…We gotta help each other, even if that means being outside of your comfort zone as far as to help the team win. Meaning that if you gotta space and shoot it, you gotta do it. We need everybody to buy into that…”
This was an interesting take, it’s good advice for the team as a whole but Embiid is also clearly referencing one teammate.
Ben Simmons has taken only five three-point shots in 35 games. If any player needs to listen to this it’s Simmons but Embiid obviously should have not put this in the public.
So Who’s to Blame?
Again there is not one person at fault here, Simmons and Embiid share a lot of the blame as the stars but Brett Brown needs to own the blame also. As the Head Coach, Brown needs to maintain control over his team. All three together must work together to make a deep playoff run. Will they be able to, or will one or more pieces need to be moved?
Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports