This season, the Philadelphia 76ers have been a mixed bag of results in games. They’ve had some good wins against quality teams like the Bucks, Celtics, etc. They’ve also had some really bad losses to teams like the Nets, Wizards, and Magic. They’re a very good team at home and a complete mess on the road.
We constantly hear the chants about Simmons not shooting anything outside of six feet, Embiid spending too much time on the perimeter, not having shooters that can work with the Sixers style of play and a general lack of consistency.
Maybe it’s time to start looking at the culture of the team. That’s set, in place by the GM, Elton Brand, and it’s coach, Brett Brown.
If we look at some of the players on the current team, they’re not emotional. There seems to be a real initiative to make sure that the team stay mild mannered and that they don’t get too emotional. This comes from the two top men in the organization.
Brand and Brown are not overly emotional. There’s no real fire there. Brown may get emotional at points in games but he quickly regains his composure and that’s how he leads the team. It’s seriously affecting a team that was supposed to be at the top of the Eastern Conference along with the Bucks.
Look at how it’s affected the players.
Joel Embiid, last season, was one of the most outspoken and entertaining players in the league. Whether it was on the court, during games, or on the sideline, oeven on social media and with the media in general, Embiid was all over the place. He was excited and he turned in a great season. This season, after an offseason that I’m sure included some talks about his personality, Embiid is quieter. His stats are almost all down across the board. FG’s, rebounds, assists, blocks, and points are all down. He’s also made mention of the fact that he hasn’t been as vocal this season and that it’s affected him and the team. After stating that he had to get back to being himself, he has still been quiet. As, I’m sure, someone mentioned that that’s not the Sixers way.
Mike Scott came to the Sixers and became an instant fan favorite. His personality and interaction with fans was a huge hit in the city. Yet, here we are, halfway through the season and Scott’s stats are all slightly down from last year. He’s not been very vocal and he’s not really been the Mike Scott that the city fell in love with.
Ben Simmons? Here’s the big one. Everyone wants Simmons to shoot jump shots. It’s generally regarded as the one part of his game that if he even started attempting shots, would make him a more complete weapon. He’s one of the most overly skilled players in the league and if he were to add three to five jumpers to his nightly repertoire, the league would have real problems trying to guard him. This season, when Simmons was supposed to breakout, has been the same as the others listed above. His stats are generally down. His assists are up from last year along with his steals but, almost everything else is down, including his shot attempts.
I won’t even get into Jimmy Butler, who was supremely talented and more outspoken that most people in the league and he’s gone. Traded away. The team keeping Tobias Harris, A good player, but also not very outspoken. Butler not fitting into the picture that Brown and Brand have envisioned.
When Brett Brown tells the media that he’d like Simmons to shoot one or two three-pointers each game, he’s not pushing that to his young superstar. He’s giving the media what they want and he’s continuing to have Simmons run a ball control offense that’s not performing anywhere near the levels they were or where they could be.
If the Sixers are to get themselves in to form, they need someone to lead with passion and fire. Brown should be letting Simmons know that he doesn’t “want” him to shoot but, rather, Simmons “has to” shoot. He should be screaming at Simmons to fire away. As the coach, he should sit down with Embiid and tell him to do what he wants, vocally. As the coach he should sit down with Embiid and tell him to sit in the low post and dominate everyone in the league as there’s really no one that could contain him in the low post.
The team needs to stop with the laidback nonsense that’s plagued this team throughout the season. This comes from the top. Brand and Brown need to find some fire and light it under the team and its superstars. If they can’t, then the owners need to make immediate changes or we’ll continue to watch the team scrape by and not perform anywhere close to their potential.
This season is not on the players so far, as we’ve seen nothing from the two men in charge that shows us that they can lead a talented group of young men to anything other than mediocrity.
Mandatory Credit – © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports