Joel Embid appeared visibly upset whenever he appeared in court on Jan. 17 at Capital One Arena.
Recording 32 points in 29 minutes in the Sixers’ 98-117 loss to the Wizards, Embiid had 33% of the Sixers’ total points, including nine on free throws. Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers’ second leading scorer, with 18 points in 33 minutes, had about 18% of the Sixers’ total points.
The next top scorer was Seth’s Curry with 8 points in 33 minutes. Every starting Sixer, including Furkan Korkmaz with 6 dots and Tobias Harris with 7, had a plus/minus in the negative two digits. No matter how hard they tried, Embiid and Maxey’s attempts to carry their team were futile.
Coached by a substitute assistant coach Joseph Blair, like both Wes Unseld Jr. and Pat Delany found themselves in coronavirus health and safety protocols, the Wizards had a more even distribution of points per player.
Montrezl Harrell led DC in scoring with 18 points, followed by Kyle Kuzma and Thomas Bryant with 15 each. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Bradley Beal followed with 14 and 13 points respectively. Every Wizards player in rotation has maintained a healthy plus/minus in the positive.
Curiously, Sixers stats almost mirror wizards’. Both teams had 12 turnovers each, and the Sixers had 42 total rebounds while the Wizards had 49. The Sixers even led in a few stats, including offensive rebounds and steals. On paper, this game doesn’t look like a blowout statistically. So what happened?
The explosive score of this game was not an exceptional victory by the Wizards, but rather a structural failure of Philadelphia. This game alone proves that when one Sixer goes down, the others go down. At the end of the match, despite being down ten points, Doc Rivers withdrew his starters and put in Charlie Brown Jr.., Paul Rose and Myles Powell, all on two-way contracts with Philadelphia’s G League associate, the Delaware Blue Coats, alongside Maxey and Charles Bassey.
“All of them played better than our guys,” Rivers said. noted at a post-match press conference. “It was just one of those nights. I thought we were outplayed every phase of the game.
The Sixers’ loss on Monday was an example of their internal problems
Less than a year ago, the Sixers were a team full of optimism. They finished the shortened 2020-21 regular season ranked 1st in the Eastern Conference with a record of 49-23. After years of debate over Embiid or Ben Simmons would be the best player to keep long term and repeatedly swap actors in the vain hope of finding a third star, the Sixers’ structural tensions reached breaking point after a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the playoffs.
Simmons decided not to take an open lay-up, opting instead to pass the ball to a confused Harris. The mistake cost the Sixers not just the game, but their season.
Simmons spent the summer dodging his teammates try to reconnect, skipped media day and has not played any matches this season. According to Sportrac, a website that tracks sports league statistics, Simmons is fined over $360,000 per game missed, and has accrued more than $13 million fines since the start of the 2021-22 season. Despite plenty of opportunities to trade NBA’s most fined player all time, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey did not accept any offers.
Rumors of an exchange of Damien Lillard came and go. A business for Russell Westbrook has been close immediately by the Sixers front office. Morey refuse a packet of Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynik and promising sophomore Sadiq Bey January 18. More recently, Morey seemed disinterested in a Kings pack of Boyfriend Hield, Harrison Barnes and Tyrese Haliburton for Simmons, Harris and Matisse Thybulle.
It’s not Embiid’s fault the Sixers failed on Monday. The problem with the Sixers goes beyond irresponsible in-game choices, bad practice decisions and injured players. Like with Bryan Colangelo and Brand Elton before him, the future of the Sixers is in the hands of Daryl Morey. With Embiid at its peak and playing better than ever, dropping 50 points in 27 minutes on Jan. 19, Morey’s changes to the roster would be appreciated by the 76ers big man sooner rather than later.