Last night the Sixers dropped yet another game to the Boston Celtics who have ruled over Philadelphia for the better part of 5 years now. The game featured the same story-line as we saw in the Playoffs last year, where Brad Stevens exploits the weaknesses of this young Philadelphia team into oblivion and average role players on the Celtics turn into superstars.
It seems that this narrative only happens against the Sixers though which leads everyone to the question of, “Why?”. Is it simply the mismatches the Celtics hold over the Sixers or is it Brett Brown being out coached? Considering the talents that Embiid and Simmons are, a lot of individuals choose the latter.
Wins vs. the East Elite in 2018-19:
Bucks – 0
Raptors – 1
Celtics – 0
Wins vs. the East Elite in 2017-18:
Raptors – 1
Celtics – 2 (including playoffs)
Cavaliers – 2
It’s quite apparent that this Sixers team struggles mightily against the top competition in the Eastern Conference. Some may use lack of experience as the excuse but Philadelphia was man handled by a Boston team last season that was led by a 20yr old rookie and Terry Rozier. Performances like that will most likely always fall back on the coach.
The one thing the Sixers must not do is settle. This franchise has endured far too much losing during ‘The Process’ era to be content as things are. There is also far too much talent and youth on this roster to not be a perennial Finals contender. That was the original plan, right?
Golden State was most notably questioned when they fired Mark Jackson back in 2014 after he led a young Steph Curry and Klay Thompson team to back to back Playoff appearances. Many fans and analysts around the league questioned the move as they thought the Warriors 6th place finishes in the West were sufficient enough for the roster they had.
Stever Kerr stepped in the next season as the replacement and led the Warriors to a league best 67 wins and the franchise’s first NBA title. The rest as you know is history.
So it’s not out of the question to ask, “Could this Sixers team be better?”.
Not Just Yet
I think Brown has earned himself at least another season but that’s fully dependent on how the Sixers perform in the postseason.
Winning at least one series is an absolute must with the roster Philadelphia has now after the trade deadline. Brown will also have to put up a competitive series against those East Elite teams that were mentioned before (Toronto, Milwaukee, Boston).
It’s tough to be critical of Brett Brown. The guy manned the coaching position during the brutal rebuild era so he should be able to reap the benefits of it. In what was ultimately the first season the Sixers attempted to win basketball games, Philadelphia finished 3rd in the East. Brown coached the team to one of the best 2nd half records in the league and even received Coach of the Year votes at season’s end.
Every Sixers fan would love to see Brett Brown be the coach of this Philadelphia team when/if they win the Finals. He is one of the OGs of ‘The Process’ and the thought of him holding up that Larry O’Brien trophy is bittersweet. But as we saw Covington and Saric depart earlier in the season, the long-term security isn’t guaranteed for everyone.
Featured Image: Philadelphia Tribune
Jordan is the founder of Sports Are Philly and a graduate of Misericordia University.
You can follow him on Twitter @darealjlaw.