Sixers Going in a New Direction

by Marc Narducci | Sep 2, 2020
Sixers Going in a New Direction
Over the last three seasons, when the 76ers became a playoff team, Brett Brown took the brunt of blame from the fans for the Sixers lack of postseason success.
 
Brown won’t be the fall guy anymore after he was fired last week, one day after the Sixers were swept in four games by the Boston Celtics in their opening round Eastern Conference series. 
 
Never mind that the Sixers played without two-time all-star Ben Simmons, out for the series after undergoing left knee surgery, the expectations were still high.
 
Then the Celtics lost marksman Gordon Hayward in Game One with a series-ending sprained ankle.
 
That still didn’t shift the balance of power in the series.
 
For Brown, it was always going to be about advancing in the playoffs and going out in the first round and especially being swept, sealed his fate.
 
Even with two years and an estimated $10 million left on his contract, Brown was considered expendable.
 
The knock on Brown was that he was too easy on the team, that Simmons would not shoot threes even though Brown said in December that he would like to see one per game from him. 
 
Simmons only attempted seven three pointers all season, and just 24 in his three years on the court after missing his first year due to injury.
 
Brown was also blamed for the fact that three-time all-star Joel Embiid never seemed to be In tip-top shape.
 
Here is what we have to say about Simmons and Embiid – good luck to the next coach in trying to convince one to shoot and the other to become a workout warrior. 
 
The Sixers tanked for the first three years under Brown and in the fourth showed moderate improvement, winning 28 games.
 
Here is a look at how the Sixers did in the playoffs his final three years.
 
2018: Beat Miami 4 games to 1 in the first round and lost to Boston, 4-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. 
 
2019: Beat Brooklyn, 4-1 in the first round, lost to Toronto in the Eastern Conference semifinals, 4-3. 
 
2020: Lost to Boston, 4-0 in the first round.
 
Brown’s job was apparently in jeopardy after losing to Toronto last year, but nobody in the postseason played the Raptors as tough. Toronto won the NBA title and needed a four-bouncing shot by Kawhi Leonard in Game 7 to eliminate the Sixers, 92-90. 
 
So the fact that the Sixers gave the Raptors their biggest challenge, created high expectations this year.
 
Yet things never worked out.
 
Al Horford, signed to a four-year $97 million free agent deal, never really clicked with Embiid. Both are more effective near the basket. 
 
Injuries to Simmons, Embiid and Josh Richardson also hurt the Sixers.
 
They never really got the consistent outside shooting they needed. 
 
For the second time in three years, Boston coach Brad Stevens seemed to be one step ahead of Brown and the Sixers in the postseason. 
 
So Brown is out of an NBA job, but don’t be surprised if he is hired by another NBA team, maybe not this year but eventually. 

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At the least, the Sixers will no longer have him to blame for their struggles.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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