Takeaways From The Sixers Win Over Hawks

NBA: JAN 29 76ers at Lakers
January 29, 2019 – Los Angeles, California, U.S – Los Angeles Lakers’ Rajon Rondo (9) goes to basket while defended by Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (21) during an NBA basketball game between Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Los Angeles (Photo by Ringo Chiu/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)

Last night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks was an up and down experience for the Sixers and their fans. Joel Embiid, though took control to seal the win. Again the game was a rollercoaster of an experience, one that left a few takeaways for the Sixers and their fans to take note of:

Seth Curry Must Be Here For The Long Haul

Seth Curry has been the picture of consistency for the Sixers this season. After his 18 point contribution last night, Curry is boasting a career-high average of 16.3 points per game while shooting 51.2% from the floor and 42.7% from three. Curry is the only qualified member of the elusive 50/40/90 club this season, and that is a testament to his unreal consistency.

Since coming to Philadelphia in the Josh Richardson trade, Curry has been one of the most important Sixers on the entire roster. His name is not that of Ben Simmons or Tobias Harris, but he has still managed to be one of the top players on this team night in and night out.

Curry’s added aggressiveness this season has only helped as well, as he’s taken on a sizable portion of the scoring load that the Sixers are missing while Ben Simmons sits out. He’s been a baller, a team player, and a perfect partner for Joel Embiid, which means that the Sixers must be committed to keeping him here for the long haul. This means not trading him (unless there’s a Godfather offer) and that once they are able to, the Sixers must resign him. He and Embiid bring out the best in each other, and together, this team is extremely dangerous.

Speaking of Embiid:

This Team Can Go Anywhere With Joel Embiid

There are no two ways about it; the Philadelphia 76ers won last night’s game over the Atlanta Hawks thanks to the stunning effort of Joel Embiid. Not only did Embiid have a dominant second half offensively (16 points), but last night, he was the best defender in the entire NBA.

While Embiid has struggled at times since returning from his bout with COVID (and understandably so), his defensive ability has looked renewed, and games played aside, he looks like a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. The way that Embiid can elevate this team is unworldly, nearly comparable to how LeBron James lifted certain iterations of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Last night, the Sixers team was essentially an army of role players surrounding Joel Embiid, and the Sixers’ star managed to will this team to victory over a consensus playoff-caliber opponent. Arguably the clearest takeaway from last night’s game was a reminder of how special Joel Embiid is. That is why Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers must do everything they can to get him a ring in Philly.

This brings us to:

It’s Time To Make A Trade

No, not this instant; after all, you’re only limiting yourself if you rush to a deal roughly a week before December 15th, when players who signed in the offseason can be traded. However, Daryl Morey must be actively looking for ways to improve this team. The Sixers have an overabundance of fantastic role players, but the team needs more top-end talent to pair with Embiid.

This doesn’t necessarily mean a Ben Simmons trade either. While certainly most, if not all, in Philadelphia would feel a tremendous weight lifted off their chest, there’s no reason to rush a Simmons deal. Morey should monitor other potential deals, perhaps involving Danny Green or, more likely, Tobias Harris in an attempt to upgrade this team. The Catch-22 of it all is that if you trade Green or Harris, the only way you get a better player in return is to attach other assets to them. That is something Philly should be wary of, considering they’re ideally pairing Simmons with those assets for a superstar.

However, there’s a balance that can be struck by taking Harris and his overblown contract and pairing it with one or more young assets (think Isaiah Joe or Paul Reed); the Sixers should be able to entice another team in a bad situation. The Portland Trail Blazers, for instance, are sub .500 once again and have just fired their GM/President of Basketball Operations, Neil Olshey.

Regardless, the Sixers should be active from now until the deadline to improve this team any way they can. The strength of the league is once again suspect at best, and anyone can contend for the Finals. It’s time for the Sixers to go all in for a trip to the Finals.