Training camp is one week away for the 76ers. What are some storylines for the team heading into the new season?
In their last game action, the Sixers lost game seven against the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the NBA playoffs, which was not the outcome the players nor the fans were expecting. The players have to report to the 76ers training facilities for camp on September 28th and going into this new NBA season. Many storylines will come out of camp this year, and here are three I’m looking at this year.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. The Ben Simmons saga is believed to continue into training camp and beyond unless something changes drastically.
The situation is well documented now that Ben Simmons wants to be traded, but currently, no deal meets the Sixers trade criteria. Daryl Morey and the Sixers brass are faced with an organization-altering decision to make about Simmons in the months to come.
Until then, it’s reported that the Sixers are expecting and prepared for Simmons to be at training camp on September 28th. Simmons showing up on time or even at all still remains to be seen. If Simmons reports to camp, many questions will still have to be addressed.
If the report by Keith Pompey is to be believed, a defining moment in Simmons’ decision to want to be traded was comments made by Doc Rivers & Joel Embiid during their post-game press conference after losing to the Hawks in the East Conference Semifinals.
At the beginning of the year, Daryl Morey stated he would not trade Ben, then proceeded to try and trade for James Harden during the NBA season.
Simmons’ relationship between the organization, head coach, and co-star player needs to improve before any progress can be made with this Sixers team this upcoming NBA season.
Second Year Players
Sixers training camp this year will host a group of second-year players. In particular, Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe, and Paul Reed will come into camp in the hope of gaining more of a prominent role, and in the case of Joe and Reed cracking the rotation and becoming more of an everyday rotation player.
This trio of first-year players showed a tone of potential and promise at times during the 2020-2021 NBA season. That was on full display January 9th vs. Denver Nuggets. When a team was crippled with injuries and a covid outbreak around the team.
The first-year players were thrust into playing major minutes against a playoff team and the eventual MVP in Jokic. Maxey, Joe, and Reed all flashed signs of potential that can only add to a championship-contending team.
It is well documented through social media posts that these young players have taken the off-season very seriously in their training and skill workouts. This bolds well for the young players and the Sixers organization, with them coming back more polished, prepared, and ready to take that next step as a player and for this Sixers team.
Doc Rivers does not escape from the part he played in this 76ers saga and is not talked about enough. These past NBA playoffs, the Sixers advance to the second round as the number one seed, against the fifth seed Atlanta Hawks.
The end result we all know was the Sixers losing in seven games, but en route to that unfortunate outcome, the Sixers proceeded to blow three leads, and none bigger than the game five 26 point game lead.
Two of the blown leads were on the Sixers’ home court, but the Sixers lost a total of three home games. It is widely discussed that Doc’s lack of adjustments, rotations, and offensive concepts late in games hurts the team down the stretch.
Roster rotations, late-game adjustments, and offensive concepts down the stretch of ball games seem to be more of a trend than an anomaly, going back as soon as the previous year with the LA Clippers where it seems to have been the same problems. Now add a disgruntled star in Ben Simmons to the list of things the head coach now has to repair this offseason.
When training camp resumes on the 28th, Doc Rivers and the Sixers organization have many decisions to make in terms of their star point guard, but there is no other bigger task than repairing and cultivating a winning culture of a team to me who seems to me to be on the brink of a breakthrough or a huge downfall.
Hopefully, the lessons and mistakes that should be learned from last year, players and head coach alike, on top of the right roster moves made by management adding or subtracting players, will play a major role in the team success next year.