Philadelphia Sixers: a key summer for the Process

The elimination opens a period of reflection in the franchise. The players who have surrendered the best contract and the young people have not lived up to it; Will Brett Brown continue?

A busy summer. It is what awaits the Sixers after the elimination in the seventh game of the semifinals of the Eastern Conference against the Raptors. One year later, the Process has fallen again in the same round. In 2018 they had reached the playoffs for the first time since 2012 taking the first big step to a project that, with much suffering, many debacles, and many negative historical records, was beginning to see light.

This time, the season promised a lot in Philadelphia. Together with the Celtics, they were at the beginning of the campaign one of the favorite teams to occupy the throne of a LeBron that had set course for the Lakers to leave a vacancy that has had more suitors than previously thought. The emergence of the Bucks and the Raptors in the regular season did not worry those of Brett Brown, who saw how they were first done with the services of Jimmy Butler in the early stages of the course, and then with those of Tobias Harris in the transfer market February These players together with Embiid, Simmons and Reddick were one of the best quintets, a priori, of the League. The Warriors of the East.

However, they have paddled again to fall on the shore. It is true that they can get more positive readings than last year, which fell in the same round but with a 4-1 against Boston that left them morally very touched. This time they have competed, they have taken out strengths of weakness, they have forced a seventh game that has had dramatic and historical tints, and they have managed to arrive alive at the last second of it. Kawhi Leonard took care of the rest.

It is true that they can take more positive readings. But it's also true that they can not do it. For the Process, this year was an all or nothing. They played with Butler and his bad reputation in the locker room, and with a Tobias Harris who had imploded in recent times. Great players who finished contract in June and who would be in free agency for the summer. Something that Redick would also do, an essential support in these last two seasons. They were players who would give, in principle, a boost to the team. But an ephemeral impulse if then they ended up signing with another franchise in July.

The summer will be very busy, no doubt about it. Butler, who can opt perfectly to the maximum, has averaged 19 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in the playoffs, numbers that have gone up against the Raptors (22 + 7 + 6). Its good work in key moments of the tie and the comparison with Embiid and Simmons, who have sinned frivolous at specific moments of this final phase, have improved the reputation of the wing. Their competitiveness and their adaptation to the team have been much better than in the Wolves. It has a player option of 19.8 million dollars that could run to renew or reject to seek better conditions in the Sixers or another team. "I have to sit down and talk to my team" is the only thing the forward has said about his future.

Other of the open fronts is that of Harris. The former Clippers have a contract until the end of the campaign and probably go for the maximum to the free agency. With 26 years, and its good work in recent times, it is the ideal time to look for it. The Sixers must see that it compensates them more. If you give the player what he asks for, or use that money to look for a better complement for Embiid. Tobias has remained in 16 + 9 in the playoffs, and although he has had good games, especially in the first round against the Nets, he has not finished carburing. He is a good team player, but he needs more ball in his hands, and the huge number of roosters in Philadelphia prevents him.

Redick is a simpler case. He is 34 years old and has a long career in the league, but he begins to lose light. The defensive pairings increasingly cost him more, and although he has taken several ignominious situations from his team in recent seasons, he does not opt for contracts as big as his teammates and could even sign for the veteran minimum. Yes, he is a quoted player. He adapts well to everything, has weight in the dressing room, does not need a lot of ball, and has experience in playoffs (he played the NBA Final in 2009 with the Magic). Do not let him escape easily.

Simmons, Embiid and the second unit

One of the things that worries most in the franchise after the tie against the Raptors is the level of Simmons and Embiid. They are the cornerstone of the project, the foundations that sustain the future of the franchise, and two players called to dominate the NBA in the future ... although that moment has not yet arrived. Or that has been shown in the last round they have played.

The base has averaged 17 points in the regular season, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. In playoffs 14 + 7 + 6. Before the Raptrs, 12 + 7 + 5. Their numbers go down as the moment of truth approaches. It's only his second year in the league, and he has a whole future ahead, but he has to improve the shot sooner rather than later to better fit the offensive system of the team. Meets in defense, but can not go as unnoticed in attack as it has done against Toronto.

Embiid is another story. He has been one of the best players of the regular season, he has dominated the area in a way he had not seen in a pivot for a long time, and he can dominate the league in the same way in the future. Against the Raptors, he has given in to Marc, but we must not jump to conclusions from this match. The Spaniard is at the height of his career, is a veteran player and has managed a young player with still little experience. Shaq succumbed to Olajuwon in 1995. He also ended up crying that tie, as he later admitted. Then, the entire NBA succumbed before him. If Embiid is respected for injuries, he can do the same. Despite their numbers against Toronto, the team has had a +80 with him on track and a -97 when he was on the bench throughout the series. He is the franchise player of the Sixers. This is something that has made clear.

The bench itself is a pending issue for the franchise. All the holders played more than 40 minutes in the seventh against the Raptors, something normal in a situation like that. However, more accompaniment has been missed. Although people like Mike Scott have had good minutes, it seems that the second unit of the squad needs to be fortified more. McConnell, who last year had a leading role, this year has disappeared from the rotation. Marjanovic did not play anything in this last duel and has only added 27 minutes in the whole series. Nor Jonathon Simmons has had much participation. The wardrobe background is also important if you want to dream about the ring.

What will happen to Brett Brown?

The million dollar question. The technician of the Process, seems to be, this time yes, in the eye of the hurricane. We already said recently that the trainer changes of a project in the medium term are not uncommon. Many times a first technician is needed to give impetus to the project and to be replaced by another that finishes rounding it. The momentum is given, and it is possible that Brett Brown's days are numbered. His work in general lines has been good. He came to the team in 2013 and had to endure a lot of slights, tanking and failed rounds of the draft to get to play the playoffs last year and make a historic franchise like that of Philadelphia competitive again.

This season he expected a step forward from the team, and it has only been partially given. Putting together many egos is always difficult to handle. Also for Brown, who has seen how big the series against the Raptors. It was not possible when those from Canada played with two bases (Lowry and VanVleet) or when they did with three tall men (Marc, Ibaka and Siakam) . He has lost the game against a first-year coach like Nurse and has not set a great regular season. Of course, he took the series to the seventh game and managed, at times, to find solutions beyond his pivot, very well defended by his rivals. We do not know if this positive reading will suffice to maintain the position. The franchise has not ruled on the matter either. So has Embiid, who has defended Brown from the criticisms.

What the team's management has said, specifically the team owner Josh Harris, is that they will try to keep the block. That will make the effort. We do not know if this includes Brett Brown, but it is clear that the players who will be free agents this summer will have the offer of the Sixers. Another thing is whether they accept it or not. At the moment, it seems that the future of the franchise will depend more on the level of development that Simmons and Embiid have than on other types of movements. If these players become the stars they promise to be, everything will be possible in Philadelphia. For now, a period of reflection opens.

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