At the start of the season, the Philadelphia 76ers were regarded as one of the top contenders to win the NBA championship. Today, with a 33-21 record, they are the 5th seed in the East and are getting further away from the prize.
Some of their biggest fans this year are hopping off the Sixers bandwagon. Namely, Stephen A. Smith, who announced at the start of the season that he thinks the Sixers will go all the way and make it to the NBA finals. Smith has lost absolutely all faith in the team.
The main argument during his First Take narrative today was the fact that Philly does not have consistent three-point shooters, and come Playoffs, their inability to shoot the three will cost them sooner or later. Teams in the Eastern Conference like Boston, Milwaukee, Miami, and Toronto all have a very well oiled machinery of three-point specialists. And in crunch time, Smith argues, this will prove to be the deciding factor.
I don’t believe in them, and I want to announce that to the world right now. Max knows this; I picked the Sixers to get to the Finals at the start of this season, before the season even began.– Stephen A. Smith
We don’t know who the hell the leaders for the Sixers are. We dont know if it’s Ben Simmons, We don’t know if it’s Joel Embiid. It clearly isn’t Brett Brown.– Stephen A. Smith
Max Kellerman had an interesting point to make, nothing particularly new, but just a reminder that the Sixers fell to Toronto in Game 7 after one of the best game-winning shots in NBA history orchestrated by Kawhi Leonard. Come Playoff time, teams change, and he argues Philadelphia is still a championship-caliber team.
Ben Simmons shot isn’t much better than last year, but he’s playing on an elite level on both ends of the floor. And interestingly, when Simmons and Embiid are on the floor, the Sixers offensive rating is in the top five in the league. With players like Harris and Horford underperforming currently, there is a legitimate chance we see a different Philadelphia in the Playoffs, assuming everyone stays healthy, and they get an extra push from their core.