Expectations in Philadelphia by John Brecko

 

Image via The Washington Post

 

With the Philadelphia 76ers having success in the 2020-2021 NBA season, expectations have come back to the city of brotherly love.

The Eagles had a disappointing 4-11-1 season that they are currently trying to rebound from (picking DeVonta Smith in the first round is a good start to that), The Flyers made a run into the playoffs late last season just to fall short on expectations this year. The Phillies are currently in second place in the NL East. However, their record is just over .500 and it is still early in season, which means there is no way to be able to tell if the Phillies will be able to end their playoff drought this season.

The Philadelphia 76ers are currently the number one seed with a 47-22 record with just three games left to play in the regular season. They are two games ahead of the number two seeded Brooklyn Nets, which means the number one seed going into the playoffs in all but secured.

All the 6ers need to do is win just one more game to make that happen. They are currently coming off a 103-94 loss to the Indiana Pacers, but the 6ers have shown all season long that they capable of not just competing with, but beating any team in the NBA.

They have one game against the Miami Heat and their final two games are against the Orlando Magic. The Heat are on a three game winning streak and the Magic are on a four game losing streak. The Heat is 38-31 despite struggling early in the season and the Magic are 21-48. The 6ers are clearly more than capable of winning at least one game.

The Brooklyn Nets and their all-star lineup is without question the favorite to win the NBA Finals this season. However, if any other team is capable of coming out of the Eastern Conference, it would be the 76ers.

As great as the New York Knicks have been down the stretch this season, they cannot defeat the Brooklyn Nets at that team’s best. The team that plays at Madison Square Garden needs another offseason or two to be able to take New York back from the team down on Atlantic Avenue.

Joel Embiid is an MVP candidate this season and Ben Simmons is an elite player (that’s without a three-point shot). Tobias Harris is a talented player that is forgotten about because he plays with Embiid and Simmons. 

Ultimately, the 6ers have made the turnaround that they have because of coaching. They never had a missing piece on the basketball court, but they did have a missing piece on the coaching staff.

Brett Brown was apathetic and was not a leader who would hold his players accountable. A team can only get so far with a coach like that.

If the 6ers always this kind of leadership from a head coach, Jimmy Butler may still be in Philadelphia and the 6ers may have come out of the Eastern Conference instead of Miami. Jimmy Butler may also have a championship instead of needing to bring forth a superhuman effort just to take the NBA Finals to a Game 6 (which is an accomplishment by itself when you’re playing Lebron James and Anthony Davis).

The 76ers were in the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago and a heartbroken Embiid was tears after losing Game 7 to the Toronto Raptors after a clutch shot from Kawhi Leonard (remember, this was the year before he made the move to Los Angeles). Maybe Philadelphia’s best player needed a season to rebound from that loss. 

If there could be a time where the already stacked Philadelphia 76ers would raise their game, this would be that ideal time.

 

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