The Philadelphia 76ers: A Fan’s Perspective

Darryl Rice
NBA Analyst

"I'm just here so I won't get fined."

As We Proceed

What’s the word readers? It’s a new day and I’m just here so I won’t get fined! The NBA is looking good y’all, bottom line. Whether it’s Fred VanVleet going for a 50 burger or Dame hitting another game winner in Chicago, the league is proving to still be exciting. In spite of covid, and a superfluous list of distractions (see daily NBA injury report), we’re still being blessed with great basketball. Teams are really showing their ass talentwise, and one of those teams is Philly. The 76ers are a great team and in this article I’m going to point out what I see differently as a fan.

The Process is The Truth

Let’s state the obvious so we can get it over with. Joel Embiid is playing smart basketball. He’s not forcing anything and it looks as if he’s letting the game come to him. He’s essentially taking what the defense gives him. Doc Rivers unlocked him and it looks like The Process is listening.

True story. I did a show with a Philly fan. I mean the man loves Philly basketball. He made the weirdest statement. He said he’d trade Simmons and keep Embiid. I thought this was crazy talk. From the outside looking in, I always felt Joel was the issue, not Ben. After seeing his play this year, I can agree completely. Ben is definitely the issue. From a new father’s perspective, having a kid can change a man. It can add exponential growth in maturity, and humility. Is this a new Joel we’re seeing? I believe so because he’s playing out of his mind. Look at his stats, he’s shooting career highs in just about all of them.

Doc and Daryl

While we’re naming names, we need to also mention the mind of Morey and the experience of Doc. The only reason Doc was fired was because he couldn’t close a game 7. It’s a punk move. It’s no secret Doc can’t close out the big game(s). Ballmer knew what he was getting when he hired him. The difference this year is Doc has a GM who makes miracles happen. I believe Daryl Morey will equip Doc with the necessary pieces he needs to win. In a weird way I believe Doc has pieces to go very far this year. Tobias Harris is playing great ball, it’s almost like he’s stolen Shake Milton’s shine. The addition of Seth Curry is also proving to work, he’s continuing the same performance he had in Dallas. Seth is definitely needed in Philly. He’s missed games, just like every other player in the league this year.

But Ben? What about Ben?

It’s evident he doesn’t have the respect of his fellow coworkers. Coworkers aren’t just teammates.

Josh Jackson wants the smoke? C’mon son!

This tells me all I need to know. It’s time to get Ben out of Philly. He hasn’t bought in the Doc Rivers system. Sometimes I feel as if Ben thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room. There’s a certain arrogance he carries. Trust me, I know the difference between arrogance and confidence. This man will not change his game. He will not make the adjustments to his game like Joel has made. He’s still forcing plays. He’s literally down on all his career stats, except his three-point percentage. A whopping 16.7%. The injuries, postponed games, and Covid is definitely an issue. This spontaneous season has affected everyone in the league, not just Ben.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

Paul Pierce is speaking the truth … a little. Here’s what my gut tells me and it’s the exact opposite of what I said. Ben Simmons will be unlocked and start to play some of his best basketball. Ben Simmons is a processor of information. In order for him to comply, it has got to make sense. He will never show you any weakness in emotion. He will always come across as he’s unfazed by anything or any criticism a person may have. On the inside, he’s thinking and processing. That’s what makes this team kind of scary.

New System

As a fan, I’d love to see a superstar at the level of Allen Iverson. Joel Embiid will always be the process, but he isn’t the answer by himself. In order for Philly to really get to the next level they must get Ben to honestly buy into this new system. I believe this is an all-inclusive approach. Doc makes sure he takes care of his players physically and mentally. As a fan, I’d look at the addition of Dwight and Danny as a great tool. These veterans are experienced in every level of the game. They are champions. For what it’s worth, they possess what neither James Harden nor Chris Paul have in their own possession. As a hopeful fan, I’m thinking if Ben bought into this system completely, he can have a ring before James Harden or Chris Paul. The system will call for talented players to become more involved. The 76ers already have the depth. Maxey has all the upside. Thybulle can literally be the go to guard in Philly and as a fan, I’d be happy I have a kid on my roster with his potential. I honestly can’t stress enough how awesome it is to have Seth Curry as a real outside threat on the team. Yes, Tobias should be “that guy”, but he’s fine.

This team has a big 3. They are almost there. A famous, stupid term, is “ they’re a year away, from being a year away” but it’s true with this organization. Ben must completely buy into the Daryl and Doc system. Tobias must consistently start earning that cheddar. He’s got the bag and now it’s time to show why he’s worth every cent.

Wisdom, experience, and talent is pasted all over this team. It’s a perfect time to come alive and show the progress, while the Bucks are on a huge regression.

But that’s another perspective for another time.

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