Photo Credit: USA Today
The look at all 30 NBA teams continues with the 76ers as we continue the playoff teams in the count down of East teams. Check out previous teams by clicking on the team name: Hornets / Wizards / Knicks / Pistons / Cavs / Bulls / Magic / Hawks / Raptors.
This was a big offseason in Philly. They brought in Al Horford and Josh Richardson who both are great players. Josh Richardson is one of the most underrated guards in the NBA and Al Horford is a great veteran to have. The issue for the team is what they lose. Everyone was talking about Jimmy Butler which was a MASSIVE loss. Butler was the closer and the key to that team more than people realize. What people have not discussed is what else the team lost. Redick has been key to the rise of the 76ers for 2 years and his shooting really helped Ben Simmons get away with his lack of a shot. Outside of him, they lost Boban, McConnell, Simmons, Muscala and Wilson Chandler who were a decent chunk of the bench for the team. Losing that much depth and shooting will be a much bigger loss than people realize. O’Quinn and Neto both barely played a year ago and now will be asked to step into fairly large bench roles.
G: Ben Simmons
G: Josh Richardson
F: Tobias Harris
F: Al Horford
C: Joel Embiid
Bench: James Ennis, Raul Neto, Mike Scott, and Matisse Thybulle.
This lineup confuses me. In an NBA that shifts more towards shooting every year, this seems like a step backward. If you force AL Horford and Joel Embiid to the perimeter, they can shoot but they become far less efficient players. Read Louie’s article on stretch 4’s. The 76ers always succeeded with shooting on the bench and they no longer have that, and Butler was their closer all of last year. When a game was close they told him to go get a bucket and he did. Who does that for the team this year? Tobias Harris is the perfect modern 4 because either he is too big and posts a small 4, or he’s too quick and goes around them. At the 3 that no longer works. Smaller guys have help behind them and he won’t be quicker than them. The lane being clogged will hurt his and Richardson’s ability to create off the dribble. Also to people saying Horford will come off the bench and not play with Embiid, they didn’t pay him 100 million dollars to come off the bench and play only 15-18 minutes that Embiid is out of the game. This will definitely be the lineup they close games with.
Prediction: 44-38 (6th in East) / 2nd Round Exit
Before you freak out, I have 3-6 seperated by 2 games. All of them have glaring flaws and I do have the 76ers beating the 3-seed in round 1. With that said I was splitting hairs between these teams and the truth is the 76ers roster just does not really fit or work in the modern NBA. They have a lot of talent but in a game built around shooting, that is missing. Also having a go-to closer is huge, and maybe Embiid or Harris can do it, but they have not proved it yet. The other 3 teams in this tight race all did have a closer I trusted more. The 76ers might be the most talented out of the bunch, but this lineup concerns me. The ceiling for the team is proving me wrong and ending up at the 2 seed, but this is about the floor for the team, and I don’t think they get off the ground. This is a high floor, and considering the track record of teams playing 2 big men making the playoffs, this is fairly impressive.
The future for this team is now locked up for a long time. 76ers fans are happy that they have the core of the process here and staying. I still don’t believe its enough shooting and like I said on The Impact With Ian Evans podcast (check it out), I would trade either Embiid for Simmons. Before this offseason, I said Simmons because he was probably more valuable on a cheap contract and I think a better PG would fit great with Embiid. Now after signing Horford and Simmons locked up, maybe they should look at trading Embiid at the deadline. They could get a king’s ransom from some team and build around Simmons, Richardson, Harris, Horford. That team would fit together much better not to mention whatever they get in the Embiid trade. It won’t happen and most 76ers fans would scream at me for saying it. Overall the team is young and locked up. The future is what you see on the floor. Let’s just hope that is enough.
*Everything in this article was discussed with Louie Snyder