Brett Brown, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and others fielded similar questions throughout the 2019-2020 NBA season regarding the Sixers' struggles away from home. Every time they were asked about it, nobody had an answer.
This past season was a strange one for the Sixers. When playing at home, they possessed a league's best record of 31-4. As visitors, they were below-average, notching a disappointing 12-26 record. While more factors played into the Sixers' inability to snag a higher seed in the playoffs, the pitiful road record was surely one of the most puzzling and frustrating factors of the 2019-2020 campaign.
Former Sixers head coach Brett Brown couldn't find the resolution to the problem during the season, but an anonymous NBA staffer attributed a lack of focus on the road as one of the primary reasons why the 76ers couldn't win away from Philly.
"One NBA team staffer with knowledge of the Sixers’ affairs said the club lacked focus on the road and that the team’s traveling party was too big. The staffer called the Sixers “unorganized,” adding the club had too many front office staff with titles but undefined roles." h/t Jabari Young of CNBC
The saying "too many cooks in the kitchen" has been used to describe the Sixers' organization leading up to their first-round playoff exit back in August. 76ers Executive President of Basketball Operations Elton Brand held the General Manager title in Philly over the last two seasons. However, the operation wasn't solely led by him.
A collaborative effort decided roster decisions in Philly. In the past, when mistakes were made, fans weren't sure who to pin the blame on. Meanwhile, a former player went on record stating he was out of the loop as well.
"I didn't know who the f**k was in charge," said former Sixers star Jimmy Butler. "I think that was my biggest thing. I didn't know what the f**k to expect whenever I would go into the gym, whenever I'd go into the plane, whenever I'd go into the game. I was like: 'Man.' I think I was as lost as the next [expletive]."
The following season, it appeared the primary concerns Butler had when he was in Philly wouldn't disappear. After the championship-hopeful Sixers underwhelmed in 2019-20, the organization worked on creating significant changes for the better.
The first step for the club was to fire the seven-year head coach, Brett Brown. Next, the Sixers moved Brand into a position of power while eliminating the infamous collaborative process within the front office as it admittedly failed. After allowing staffers to walk, hiring some new names, and phasing out others, the Sixers are looking forward to getting back on track for a title -- and getting out of their own way.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_