The Philadelphia 76ers are drowning – and only their two superstars can right the ship

Coming into the 2019-20 season, the Philadelphia 76ers bolstered their roster significantly and were a trendy to pick to go to the NBA Finals.

Oh, how times have changed.

And as the All-Star Break approaches, it seems the lack of chemistry between their talent – new and old – will be their undoing.

The Sixers boast two young All-Stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, a veteran big man in Al Horford, and a cast of long, skilled pieces on the perimeter.

But, Simmons and Embiid aren’t on the same page.

They might not even be in the same book. And now, the debate is raging.

Who will stay and who will go?

After 52 games, the Sixers find themselves sixth in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 31-21. They are an abysmal 9-19 on the road and everyone seems to have an opinion on what the problem might be.

Simmons lack of shot-making has long been a sticking point for Sixers fans and the media.

However, a deeper dive reveals that the issue doesn’t fall squarely on the All-Star point guard’s doorstep.

 

Take a look at the three-point numbers for Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Josh Richardson this season:

These shooting woes have led to a clogged paint for Embiid and Simmons, as well as a clunky offense in Philadelphia.

Interestingly enough, the Sixers were one Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beater away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals just last season.

While the supporting cast hasn’t held up its end of the bargain, the Sixers’ young All-Stars haven’t been the best version of themselves either.

Simmons numbers haven’t dropped off this season, but they haven’t necessarily progressed either…except for when Embiid is not on the floor.

Embiid recently missed nine games with a hand injury, and in those games, Simmons averaged 22 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists.

The Sixers went 6-3 in those nine games, with their only losses coming at Indiana, at Dallas and at Toronto – three playoff squads.

Still, some favor Embiid.

In the Sixers’ last three games – all losses – Embiid is shooting 31 percent from the field, averaging under 20 points and grabbing less than 10 rebounds.

And while he might have returned early from a hand injury, Philly desperately needs him to get back to his dominant ways if it wants to turn this season around.

The 76ers have dug themselves into a hole with their inconsistent play so far this season.

But a hole is not a grave.

Let’s see if Embiid or Simmons can lead the uphill climb.