The NBA Playoffs are right around the corner and the Philadelphia 76ers have found themselves in a bit of slump as of late. The team is currently on a 3 game losing streak and have dropped 5 of the last 7. With this slumping, fans can’t help but think of the disappointment that was the Boston series from a season ago.
Although the Sixers have upgraded their roster immensely from 2017-18, similar problems still exist. If Philadelphia wants to make a deep Playoff run they’ll have to address some key things.
The Sixers problem for the past year or so has been the production, or lack thereof, they get from their bench. The additions of Mike Scott and Boban this season have certainly helped those troubles but the consistency is still not there.
For a deep Playoff push they’ll need consistent production when the starters go to the bench. If guys like Zhaire Smith, T.J. McConnell, Shake Milton and James Ennis step up to the plate this coming postseason the Sixers could be a real threat to knock off the top seeded Bucks and Raptors in the Eastern Conference.
4th Quarter Jimmy
Philadelphia traded away Covington, Saric and a draft pick for a star that is capable of taking over a game when it matters and they need that guy to show up in the Playoffs.
Jimmy Butler is well known for his late game heroics as Sixers fans found out quite early into his Philadelphia tenure. Butler can’t back away from that identity come Playoff time as the Sixers will need his killer mentality late in games. As we saw in their latest matchup with Boston, who Philadelphia has struggled with mightily over the years, Butler simply took over in crunch time to lead the Sixers to a win.
Health of Embiid
It’s no secret that Joel has run into his fair share of injuries. The 2018-19 season has been quite kind to the big man in that department even though he has missed quite a bit for the past month or so, which is likely more load management and caution than anything.
Philadelphia will need Embiid on the floor for every game this postseason if they plan on making a deep run. Joel missed some time last year which may have extended the Sixers series with Miami a bit longer than it should have went which resulted in more wear and tear headed into the Boston series.
Don’t be fooled by his pregame emoji tweets because it’s clear that Simmons doesn’t always play with the same intensity from game to game. When Ben plays aggressive he’s one of the best players in the league. Trying to stop a 6’10ft Point Forward going full steam to the rim isn’t easy. The talented 22yr old too often settles for a play-making role though, which not only holds him back but the team as a whole
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) April 4, 2019
The lack of a jumpshot is no excuse to go missing on offense heading into what figures to be a competitive Eastern Conference Playoff. He needs to show a lot more aggressiveness in trying to score the ball moving forward.
Featured Image: NBA TV
Jordan is the founder of Sports Are Philly and a graduate of Misericordia University.
You can follow him on Twitter @darealjlaw.