In the summer, the Philadelphia 76ers built a roster that seemed poised and primed to do big things this season. The 76ers got bigger with the addition of Al Horford, retained Tobias Harris, and brought in Josh Richardson from Miami in the Jimmy Butler trade. Add that to what they had in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Philadelphia appeared ready to make their move.
On paper, this team looked better, but basketball is never played on paper. Chemistry seems to be an issue with this team. Horford and Embiid together is not a perfect fit, especially in this small-ball era, so 76ers head coach Brett Brown finally made the move that seemed inevitable, he decided to send Horford to the bench.
Against the Clippers, with Horford coming off the bench, Philadelphia’s offense looked better, and the spacing appeared to be better, and ultimately, the 76ers would defeat Los Angeles 110-103 in their last game before the All-Star break.
Now, going into the second half of the season, Philadelphia has a few things working in their favor. First, they play well at home. Philadelphia is an NBA-best 25-2 at home, and next, they have the second-easiest schedule the rest of the way.
Regarding Philadelphia’s home record, this team has beaten some of the top teams in the league on their home floor, including victories over the Bucks, Clippers, Lakers, Celtics(twice), Raptors, Nuggets, and Jazz.
However, Philly must play better on the road. The 76ers are one of the worst teams away from home. They are 9-19 away from the Wells Fargo Center, and they have lost to some lousy teams, including losses to the Hawks(twice), Magic(twice), and Wizards.
If the season ended today, Philadelphia would be the fifth-seed and would play the Miami Heat, who have beaten the 76ers two out of three times this season. If that matchup were to happen, with the Heat having home-court advantage, the 76ers could go out in the first round.
Philadelphia went into the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak. If they don’t make their move now, then it might not happen for Philadelphia this season, but with Embiid back, Simmons playing well(averaging 20.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 8.1 apg in January and February), and the additions of Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III, the 76ers have the depth and the talent to make their move.
At home, they have proven they can beat any team in the NBA. If they could just be average on the road, this team could make their move in the Eastern Conference and ultimately try to make a run at an NBA title. You can say what you want about the 76ers, but there is just too much talent to dismiss them. If they do struggle the rest of the way, changes will come.