For one more season, the Philadelphia 76ers have fallen short of expectations.
After returning to tie the Miami Heat vs. Eastern Conference semifinals, they look disconnected and unpleasant, missing the next two contests to end their season.
When there is such a gap between what a team was supposed to achieve and what it actually achieved, it is clear that it lacks something and needs to change.
The 76ers will have to make some tough decisions this summer, but if they are serious about winning their first NBA Championship since 1983 and satisfying one of the toughest fan bases in the sport, they will have to take some special steps.
3. Get rid of James Harden
Whether they trade him, opt him out of the final year of his contract, or ban him from ever setting foot in Pennsylvania again, 76 people must divorce themselves from Harden.
Fans of the former 2018 league MVP panicked when the team jetted out Ben Simmons and two other players to get him a few months ago, and some were nervous to compare Harden and Joel MBD’s new pair Shakil O’Neill and Kobe Bryant. Was. .
– Gustavo (am iamvega1982) May 13, 2022
They fell short of those expectations – very low – and Harden has no track record of increasing his game in the high leverage situation for which Bryant is famous.
In Game 6 vs. Miami, the biggest game of his season, Harden took a total of nine shots in 43 minutes and scored just 11 points, a trend that has plagued him for years.
James Harden, you can’t do that in a close out game; Take only two shots in the second half and score no points?
– Irwin Magic Johnson (MagicJohanson) May 13, 2022
Moreover, his shooting percentage this season was significantly lower than his career average, and there is no clear indication that this problem will resolve itself next season.
Even if it does, Harden doesn’t seem to be the only championship element.
The best case scenario is that Harden chooses the last year of his contract and the Sixers get some effective value in a trade for him.
However, some Philly fans have a secret suspicion that General Manager Daryl Moore, who was Houston Rocket’s GM when Harden was there, will give Harden a rough deal extension anyway.
2. Find a point guard
With Simmons gone, Philly doesn’t have a real point guard or floor general.
Tyres Maxi, a second-year guard who has become a rising star for the Sixers, has emerged as a scoring threat and secondary playmaker, but he’s not the usual point guard or table-setter.
Finding a true point man can go a long way in stabilizing the team when it is flat out or when the opposing team goes for a run, as well as improving the offense by getting the ball in the right place and being just 18th in the points. Has scored goals this season.
1. More fighting and heart
Philadelphians consider themselves warriors who are as hard as nails and do not shy away from confrontation while showing a lot of heart and chutzpa.
These are admirable qualities that the Sixers have not had in a long time.
The Heat, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs a few days ago, has a lot of qualities and any team either wins the World Championship or is seriously challenged for it.
Maxi, Matisse Thaibule, and to a certain extent, MBD, are blessed with these qualities, but those people need more players to get to the next level of Philly.