NBA

Sixers process their way into the new year

The city of Philadelphia has used “Trust the Process” as a slogan for the Sixers as well as the community.

Yes, we have been told that as long as we “trust the process” the team will turnaround at some point. Well, this slogan now is a motivator for the entire city. I go into a corner store, and the guy behind the counter yells to me, ” Hey trust the process”, or I go to a nightclub and the wristband giving out says,”trust the process”. The entire 3.3 million civilians in the city of brotherly love, understands there is a bigger meaning behind this motto. Unfortunately, I do not believe that the organization and management understand the magnitude of this slogan.

Coming into this season we knew a couple of things. One, that we will finally have the combo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid playing on the same floor together. Shaq has compared these two to Penny Hardaway and himself back in the 90s. Second, we added sharpshooter JJ Redick on a one year 23 million dollar deal to help make an impact with three-point shooting, along with the addition of Amir Johnson for a locker room presence. Third, Brett Brown developed Robert Covington, TJ McConnell, and Rishan Holmes in the last few years and now they are a respected presence on the court.

Image result for Brett Brown

After a slow 1-4 start to the season, the Sixers got the ball rolling into the hoop that led the team to a 5-game winning streak. The three ball was falling and Ben Simmons did not look like your average rookie. His numbers through the first month were 18.4 points, 7.7 assists, and 9.1 rebounds a game. I am not saying that his numbers dropped off, in fact, he has recorded four triple-doubles already, but teams are starting to figure him out.

Ben Simmons has not proven that he has the confidence in a jump shot. For the first few weeks, he would take it to the hoop and finish strong. He would take some short jump shots and it looked like he would be taking steps in the right direction going forward. Since then, all he does is make layups and open dunks. The problem is he is afraid to take a jump shot, which does not scare the defense one bit.

For example, he took two jump shots that he made early on in the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. After that, he did not take another jump shot and only attempted six shots. Folks, I realize he is a rookie but if you are a point guard in this league and you only have one move without a jump shot, you will soon be exposed in the NBA. Here are his highlights from his matchup with the Kings

The Sixers got to a 13-9 mark in November, but that is as good as it has been so far. It all started with the loss to the Phoenix Suns as they lacked a spark of energy until the 4th quarter. Then a loss at home to the Lakers on a buzzer beater by Brandon Ingram, along with a tough loss to Cleveland with Robert Covington going out with a back injury. The Sixers coughed up a lead late to the Pelicans and that led them to a season-high four game losing streak.

The Sixers lost eight of their last nine games coming into their game against the New York Knicks on Christmas day. The question on everyone’s mind was whether Joel Embiid would play with a bad back. Our question was answered as he played 34 minutes and got another double-double. He had 25 points and 16 rebounds to help the Sixers win 105-98. I believe if it was not for him playing the Sixers would have lost another game. He changes the complexion of a game with his size and outside range to be unguarded. The key for this Sixers team is they want to make the playoffs is to have Joel Embiid playing night in and night out. I’m tired of these excuses for him not playing. He played in three overtimes against the Thunder, so if he can do that then he can play 30 minutes a game, every game.

The Sixers are now 15-8 as they head out west for a three-game road trip. Hopefully, Joel Embiid played and the Sixers guards to help out Ben Simmons with hitting open shots at the end of tight games. A key for them is getting a guard who can be a threat deep in ball games. We need a guard who can be effective off the dribble.

Once January rolls around, teams will be thinking about making key trades to help make that playoff push, and the Sixers, unlike the last 4 years, has a reason to be motivated headed into the new year. Happy holidays folks.

 

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