Should the Philadelphia 76ers Give the Current Roster Another Shot?
Lately, Sports Illustrated's The Crossover has examined one specific concern surrounding each NBA team. For the Philadelphia 76ers, SI's Rohan Nadkarni asked the question, "How Much Patience Will the 76ers Front Office Have?"
Despite having one of the more talented starting lineups on paper, the 76ers' 2019-2020 roster did not live up to the hype. Even after losing two key pieces in JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler, the team went out and got Al Horford and Josh Richardson.
The thought of the 2019-20 Sixers instilled confidence in Philadelphia. The head coach, Brett Brown, was so confident, he believed the 76ers should be contending for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
As we know now, the 76ers were far from top contenders in the East. If and when the season resumes, the 76ers are going to be the East's sixth seed, which is worst than their conference ranking over the last two seasons.
Identifying the Issue
"The roster has been made over several times, from the Tobias Harris trade, to the Jimmy Butler trade, to the second Jimmy Butler trade, all the way down to the Al Horford signing. Every iteration of the Sixers during Brand's tenure have had some level of promise, but the current group seems to have the least of all of them."
The Sixers have a spacing issue, and that's no secret. Their abnormally tall lineup is talented, but nobody is really a significant threat outside of the paint. Both Joel Embiid and Al Horford are better suited at the center position, remaining on the block.
But Ben Simmons' unwillingness to take a jump shot forces Embiid and Horford to stand around the arc looking out of place more often than not. That has caused many to assume that Embiid and Simmons' fit is off, and the duo should be split so the Sixers can choose one, and replace the other by surrounding them with shooters.
Also, Horford, Tobias Harris, and Josh Richardson have been added to their fair share of trade hypotheticals as well. The whole team won't be traded -- but should the Sixers keep the current starting lineup intact to run it back for next yet?
A Few Tweaks Should do the Trick
Unfortunately, something will have to change, but I wouldn't suggest breaking up Simmons and Embiid. Despite what the masses say, Embiid and Simmons aren't the primary concern for the 76ers, so breaking up two young All-Stars approaching their prime doesn't really make sense right now.
If we have to point fingers, it comes down to two factors, in my opinion. One being Al Horford. The idea that Embiid and Simmons cannot coexist on the court together is a debatable topic. The concept that Embiid and Horford cannot coexist on the court together is pretty obvious. With Horford, the Sixers have great insurance for an often-injured Embiid. However, that insurance costs a hefty $109 million.
The other issue? Head Coach Brett Brown. Is Brown a bad coach? I wouldn't say that much. However, a fresh start could be beneficial for both Brown and the Sixers. The roster has seen a lot of drastic changes over the last few years, and the 76ers are still viewed as a team that's a playoff contender -- but not a championship contender. Perhaps, the next big change should be the head coaching position.
The Philadelphia 76ers shouldn't attempt to run it back with the same squad next season. But I also don't believe the organization should begin working towards a rebuild by selling off too many players at the moment, either. The team is talented and should be playoff-relevant for years to come -- but a few minor tweaks could help get them over the hump.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_