The party isn’t over yet: Five thoughts on the Sixers’ season so far


3. Brett Brown’s Tenure is Likely Nearing An End

One thing that has seemed clear is that the pressure is on for Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown. There have been plenty of fans calling for Brown’s job; some reasons being fair, others not so much.

What seems to be the determining factor this season is the team’s performance in the playoffs this year. Last year, the Sixers suffered a frustrating loss in the second round for the second year in a row and the front office is not satisfied. The team will either have to make it past the second round, or at least compete enough to keep faith in Brett Brown.

How Brown Keeps His Job

The only likely way the Sixers can accomplish this though is if the seeding lines up so that they wouldn’t face Milwaukee until the Eastern Conference Finals. The Sixers may have a chance though as they have reformed the look of the team.

Against the Clippers in the last game before the All-Star break, Brett Brown benched starting Power Forward Al Horford. This is something that fans had clamored for believing it would help the spacing of the offense, and it worked. With Horford on the bench, this moved Tobias Harris to his natural position of Power Forward and inserted Furkan Korkmaz into the starting lineup. While Korkmaz went scoreless for the game, Harris, Simmons, and Embiid were all clearly more comfortable which is the reason for the change. Horford was also able to provide quality impact from the bench making this more effective in almost all aspects.

If Coach Brown decides to keep everybody’s role as it was against the Clippers, the Sixers have their best shot at competing and that could save his job. Firing Brett Brown is not necessarily the right move as the replacements are questionable but at a certain point, a new voice may be required.

4. Frustrations Mounting

There have been many documented cases of locker room unrest for the Sixers this season. The team has allegedly been in constant dispute mostly stemming from players complaining about their role. Joel Embiid has made comments that many have assumed to believe that he is dissatisfied with Ben Simmons’ lack of desire to shoot. Al Horford also voiced his frustrations about his role in the offense and even acted a bit spicy towards the fans, shushing the Sixers’ home crowd after a made three.

Things were so dire that Josh Richardson called a players-only meeting. A players-only meeting is concerning enough but one that isn’t called by the stars is even more concerning. Simmons and Embiid have not seen the mental growth expected or desired of them and it is at least one contributing factor to the dysfunction.


Many are even discussing if it’s time to end the Simmons/Embiid experiment. Simmons clearly likes to run a fast-paced offense while Embiid prefers to get the ball down-low and work in the post. Both players need to grow to help each other and themselves but trading one seems like the “easier” idea.

Simmons and Embiid are as talented as young stars come, the team will be best suited if the two find a way to work together on the court. The drama with the Sixers has been overblown because it’ garners views but there is some truth at the root. The team needs to improve internally to have a real shot this year. Is it possible? Sure, but will it happen? That’s up to be determined.

5. It’s Not Over Yet

For all the negatives this season has seen: offensive chemistry, lack of wins, Simmons/Embiid drama; the Sixers’ season is far from over. They are still the fifth seed and have room to improve. If Brett Brown continues to coach like he did against the Clippers and the Sixers continue to roll with the new-look lineup, there is a real chance that this team can grab the fourth or even the third seed.

The offense is the key for the Sixers, with Horford on the bench the spacing is much improved and it gives Horford the chance to run the pick-and-roll where he thrives. It will also be interesting to see how Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III integrate with the offense. This on top of the continued growth we should see from Thybulle, Korkmaz, Milton, and even Simmons and Embiid are reasons for excitement.

Remember, the Sixers are only one and a half games behind the Miami Heat for the fourth seed which could mean everything for the Sixers as it would give them an extra home game in the series. Looking further, the Sixers are only four and a half games behind the Celtics for the third seed. Difficult yes, but not impossible. This team still has the potential to be a title contender, they just need to put the unnecessary things behind them and focus on the game.

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports