Before the 2019-20 season began, the Philadelphia 76ers were, in the minds of many, the favorites to win the NBA title this year. Given more time to grow chemistry and build rapport with each other, they might’ve lived up to those expectations.
Instead, the Sixers made a serious of huge (and questionable) changes to the roster which included trading Jimmy Butler, letting go of JJ Redick, and using their remaining cap space to sign Al Horford for the max.
Needless to say, Philly might have been better off just running it back and, in a recent appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast “The Old Man & The Three,” 2x Finals MVP Kevin Durant gave a similar analysis.
“It’s hard to become a great team when you’re getting new teammates every year. It’s tough. Especially young players like them, they’re expected – and in Philly they’ve got so many expectations on them, it’s tough,” Kevin Durant said, via NBC Sports.
There is truth to the notion that it’s hard to win when you don’t really know your teammates. When the Miami Heat “Big 3” first got together, they got upset in the Finals by a Mavs team who just played better together.
Chemistry is an immeasurable component of the game, but it certainly matters for a title-contending team.
With everything changing around them, Embiid and Simmons have had trouble adjusting and adapting to it all. They’ve got their own problems to worry about, after all. But where do they go from here?
Do they keep things the same and try to run it back with a broken roster, or do they look to make even more moves? No team in their right mind would trade for Horford or Tobias right now and as long as the Sixers are paying them, they have very little flexibility. The only logical step, if they decide to change things up, might be to part ways with one of their two superstar players.
When does the cycle stop for Philly?