Where do you even begin with this team? The god’s honest truth is I’m not here to pile on the Sixers. They blew a 26 point lead last night at home and they’re one game away from elimination in the second round of the playoffs as a 1 seed. They’re down bad we all know that. What I’m here to do is to tell the truth about this Sixers team that many Sixers fans still refuse to accept. The Sixers never had a chance to win a championship in the first place, they were always pretenders.
You simply CANNOT win deep into the playoffs when your best players can’t shoot. At the end of the day, Embiid is not the main problem. He deserves a little bit of blame for his awful second half performance in Game 4 but Ben Simmons is the biggest problem on this team. He hasn’t missed a single field goal in the fourth quarter the last two games. Wanna know why? Because he hasn’t even attempted one. He’s a ghost in the 4th quarter of games. He’s an absolute non factor. If anything he‘s a liability once they start purposely putting him on the line and he’s bricking free throws. The last 6 or so minutes of Game 5 the Sixers couldn’t score a bucket to save their season, yet the Hawks had three of the most exploitable defenders in the NBA all on the court at the same time in Trae Young, Lou Williams and Danilo Gallinari. How Ben Simmons can’t score on those three guys is astonishing. You wanna know why he can’t score? There’s two reasons. The first is obvious, he can’t shoot jump shots. The second is he can’t drive to the lane because he doesn’t wanna create contact and go to the line. You know who’s arguably the best in the league at that? James Harden, the guy they wouldn’t trade Ben Simmons, Thybulle and Maxey for. If this team has James Harden they are a legit contender, at minimum much better off than they are right now. Hindsight may be 20/20 but this was obvious even in the moment in my opinion. Ben Simmons can do a lot of great things on a basketball court there’s no doubt about it, but the way he plays cannot help you deep into the playoffs. Once your not playing bottom feeder eastern conference teams in December that shit sails real quick.
What I’m about to say may pierce the hearts of Philadelphia, but the real truth of the matter is the Sixers as constructed right now are much closer to being the Knicks than they are to being real contenders. The Sixers are a better basketball team don’t get it twisted, but they more realistically are a sometimes fun team who can win a bunch of games in the regular season but will get steamrolled by the elite teams come playoff time. Any rational Knicks fan knew this years team didn’t actually have a chance to win the championship. They were just a fun team to root for who played hard and egregiously overachieved. The Knicks haven’t had that in a long time and fans of the team were just basking in the moment. That’s why Knicks fans celebrated like they won a championship after winning one playoff game, that was their championship. Rational Knicks fans knew that an early playoff exit (second round at absolute best) was their ceiling. The only difference between the Sixers and the Knicks ceiling is one more round in the playoffs. It doesn’t matter if the Sixers win this series or not, they aren’t getting out of the eastern conference. Simple as that. And even in some fantasy world they did, they are getting SMOKED by the Suns because the Suns can consistently shoot the basketball and are a legitimate balanced basketball team. They have a number of guys they can rely on to get a buckets to close out games which opens things up for all of them. The Sixers have maybe one or two which makes it much tougher to score down the stretch once things tighten up in the fourth quarter of playoff games.
If the Sixers want any chance to contend for a championship Ben Simmons has to go. You can’t win with that guy. May I remind you this was the first overall pick in the draft yet he couldn’t even get his college team into the NCAA Tournament. He’s a good basketball player, but he’s not a winning basketball player. The Sixers and Knicks are both one star player away, the only difference is Sixers need to subtract and add while the Knicks just need to add. If the Sixers can get a great guard that can score in return for Ben Simmons, they could really make a run at this thing. Until then, they’re pretenders just like the Knicks. The Knicks just at least know who they are. The Sixers and their fans are delusional if they think otherwise.