After a night of reflecting and disbelief in what I just saw I have finally come to terms that the Sixers will not advance past the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs for the second consecutive year. I already felt that Philly would have struggled to beat the Bucks. My two teams I selected for the NBA finals prior to the start of the playoffs were the Bucks and the Warriors.
I have determined that the same frustration that Boston felt after losing 4-1 has moved down to Philadelphia. There must be a week of reflection to determine what both teams must do to exceed the results of these 2nd round disappointments. Danny Ainge and Elton Brand must evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their respective teams.
Boston must determine if they want to keep Kyrie Irving or pursue another free agent. Brad Stevens will find a way to make it work. He was not able to do that with Kyrie. Chris Paul would be a better fit in the Celtics locker room. Gordon Haywood will be better next year after an off season that will not include rehabilitation. Boston needs another 3-point assassin to open the floor for drives. Celtics should not change a great deal because they have a core that is young and in place.
The Sixers must keep Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. Brett Brown must be reevaluated to see if he is a championship level coach. While he showed the ability to make game adjustments in this year’s playoffs, he did not have the team in position to utilize Embiid to his optimum. At the end he should be on the block with his back to the basket and in a two-man game with Butler. If the Sixers space properly, the Sixers will get a basket or a trip to the line. Last night they had 3 possessions where they did not attempt a shot and received 24 second violations and a turnover. That is not championship-caliber basketball.
Embiid must improve his conditioning. He must learn to analyze his opponent and take advantage of his superior skills in the paint. He should rely less on his 3-point shot. Ben Simmons should acquire a 3-point shot. Ben Simmons does not have a spot on the floor that he can call his sweet spot. A spot that he knows he can score from. Simmons should also get stronger with the ball and improve his decision making in the half court. He can meet with Magic Johnson and expand the aspects of his game.
Lastly, the Sixers need a bench that they can count on. Zhaire Smith can be the sixth man. Jonah Bolden can be the energy guy if he could guard without fouling. Mike Scott can return if the price is right. Everyone else is up for reevaluation. This includes fan favorites T.J. McConnell and Boban Marjanovic.