By Andrew Franceski, Staff Reporter As the leaves begin to change, our televisions will soon be tuned to the squeaking sound of sneakers and thuds of basketballs against the court: the NBA is back, and our hometown 76ers are poised to make a deep run. “The Process,” a rebuilding plan conceived by Sam Hinkie to...
By Andrew Franceski, Staff Reporter
As the leaves begin to change, our televisions will soon be tuned to the squeaking sound of sneakers and thuds of basketballs against the court: the NBA is back, and our hometown 76ers are poised to make a deep run.
“The Process,” a rebuilding plan conceived by Sam Hinkie to remodel the Sixers, is now on its second coach and fourth GM since its inception, with limited results. With contract extensions kicking in and few picks to select young stars in the next few drafts, this is a pivotal moment for the Sixers.
Last season and through the beginning of offseason activities, the Sixers have dealt with managing injuries and egos. The Sixers have two superstars and a roster of all-stars, all of whom have been butting heads with the media and each other. More team meetings and practices have been the preferred solution of the front office, something junior Matthew Loftus believes doesn’t fix the problem.
“Practices don’t help with teammate chemistry and constant arguing. It’s like trying to fix a bullet with a band-aid while juggling oranges,” Loftus said.
As a result of various signings by the old GM, Elton Brand, the Sixers have no cap space (money to spend on players), and aging veterans are being paid not to play. This stands out the most to senior Drew Lamonica, who has been suffering through “The Process” for eight years.
“They are a mess. We have many bad contracts, foremost Al Horford. I don’t want to pay $20 million for someone who hurts the team. We are spending a lot of money, so it’s time for the players to earn the contract and roll up their sleeves and get to work. I’m tired of the first-round exits,” Lamonica said.
Superstars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, both making over $30 million this year, have skipped practices and publicly criticized each other’s play style. This has manifested during games, as both players have missed easy points in an effort to look better. This disconnect was apparent to fans like freshman Ella Abramson.
“I noticed they were playing alone. Sometimes, I could even see them ignoring each other on the bench. This lack of collaboration, I believe, is where some of the issues arise,” Abramson said.
Former coach Brett Brown hardly, if ever, disciplined his team, resulting in his reputation as a soft “players coach.” On 94.1 WIP, the local sports radio station, listeners could expect to hear about another fight amongst the team, and Brett Brown defended them. The Sixers recently just hired a new coach, Doc Rivers, a hire applauded by many.
“I like the signing. I think Doc is better than Brett Brown, but I also think for the organization, it was a culture change in the whole entire organization, and I feel like Brett Brown would let the players walk all over him, which I hated. The new coach, in my opinion, is half of the solution,” Loftus said.
The hope amongst the city is that a new coach will also bring a new playbook to the game. The Sixers struggled throughout “The Process” with scoring, and their defense often looked stale and not passionate. Rivers has a history of creativity, and the hope is that he will change the game plan for the better.
“I think a new playbook will help spice things up a bit and make it look like more inspired basketball. I know we have the talent and we have the money to compete, so it would be nice to see some motivated basketball and (for) the team to make a run this year,” Loftus said.
As the season fast approaches, there is an air of optimism in Philadelphia among fans like Abramson that this could be the year.
“I’m really excited for the season,” Abramson said. “I think we can make a deep run, and I can’t wait to watch.”
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