For all the success the Sixers have seen during the past two seasons, the team has disappointed this year. The team has dealt with injuries and inconsistency throughout the season and the overall fit of the roster has been questionable at best. There has been plenty of criticism hurled toward Sixers’ General Manager Elton Brand as the moves he’s made have not panned out as designed.
Initially, everything looked bright. Brand managed to add Jimmy Butler without mortgaging the future and then was able to acquire Tobias Harris who looked to be the missing piece. This past offseason Brand brought in Josh Richardson and Al Horford and the team was expected to make another leap forward.
Things haven’t gone to plan though as Butler forced his way to Miami and Harris has struggled to find his role with the team. Richardson, who was effectively Butler’s replacement, has struggled to find consistency and also to stay healthy, and finally, the Al Horford experiment has been nothing but an utter failure.
Things may not have gone as expected but Elton Brand can still turn things around for the Sixers. This team still has the talent, assets, and potential to become a contender, Brand just needs to clean up his tactics and be willing to admit past mistakes.
Trade Al Horford and Get Something in Return
Speaking of mistakes, Al Horford’s days with the Sixers should be numbered. The only time Horford has resembled anything close to success was when he came off the bench. That cannot be Horford’s future as the Sixers can’t possibly expect to pay a backup center over $100 million. The right move is for Brand to admit that Horford is a poor fit by moving the five-time all-star.
The Sixers can’t just trade Horford for peanuts though, there needs to be some value coming back. Part of the difficulty is that few teams would be interested. Horford is both aging and expensive but contrary to the opinion of many in Philadelphia, Horford still holds some value for some organizations.
The teams that immediately jump out as fits are Sacramento, Golden State, and Chicago with Dallas and Washington as other potential fits. The return would almost certainly be another overpriced player but perhaps one that is a better fit.
Even if the most they get out of the deal is a Tim Hardaway Jr. or Otto Porter, as long as the play can contribute and space the floor, it should be considered a win.
Fill Out the Roster with Shooters
The Next step Brand must take is the obvious piece that’s been missing from the Sixers for years. The team needs to be filled to the brim with shooters. Tobias Harris and Furkan Korkmaz are a great start and Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle have shown plenty of promise for the future but more still must be added.
It’s often mentioned that Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are poor fits due to their poor shooting. While many say separating the young stars is the way to go, the obvious, and more simplistic solution is just to add shooters around them.
The Sixers were their most dangerous with JJ Redick, Ersan Ilyasova, and Marco Belinelli and should try and construct a similar roster. A team full of players who can shoot off the catch, shoot in transition, and create shots in the half-court is necessary for any team, especially one that boasts two poor shooters as their stars.
Whether through free agency or the trade market, the need is obvious and should be taken care of as soon as possible.
Keep Both Ben Simmons AND Joel Embiid
More and more there are people trying to tear apart Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Thinking there’s no possible way they can coexist, the Sixers are better off trading one while their value is high. The Sixers have a history of trading stars away instead of building a proper roster around them and it hasn’t worked (Charles Barkley/Allen Iverson). Elton Brand would be foolish to repeat history, keeping both Ben Simmons AND Joel Embiid is crucial to the success of the team.
Joel Embiid is 26 and Ben Simmons is 23 going on 24, there is plenty of time to continue to develop them together. If Brand puts a well-fitting roster around them and they still can’t succeed, or if they still bicker (allegedly), then you can revisit moving on but the fact is they’re both far too young in their career for that.
For Elton Brand to turn things around he needs to shut the noise out and Trust the Process. The team has shown in the past that they can have success under Simmons and Embiid IF the team around them fits their strengths and counteracts their weaknesses.
Everything may not be going great for the Sixers, the locker-room drama, the injuries, the inability to win on the road, but the team is still salvageable. Elton Brand just needs to be methodical in his approach and learn from the mistakes that not only he’s made, but the entire organization over the years.
If Brand makes his next moves wisely, we could see the Sixers become contenders sooner rather than later.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports