The Philadelphia 76ers sit in sixth place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings with a 39-26 record.
At the beginning of the NBA season, analysts like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and NBA on TNT Charles Barkley gushed over Philly’s three-headed monster of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris and their potential to make it to the NBA Finals this season.
“I’ll tell you what, the one team in the Eastern Conference that scares the hell out of me — I don’t want to see Ben [Simmons] and Joel [Embiid] and Tobias Harris,” Barkley told NBC Sports Philadelphia recently.
“I would not want to play the 76ers in the playoffs.
“Other than Giannis [Antetokounmpo] — I want to make sure I don’t leave anybody out — the Sixers are going to have the best two players against any team in the Eastern Conference. With the exception of Giannis, any team they play in the Eastern Conference, they’re going to have the two best players on the court in every series — except against the Milwaukee Bucks.”
Appearing on the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Fox Sports’ Renee P. Washington discussed the 76ers’ chances and more.
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Renee P. Washington on the Philadelphia 76ers and possibly a healthy Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons:
“I honestly cannot wrap my head around the fact that they’re claiming that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons can’t play together. In the NBA and you know this, everyone that is a top championship contender has two All-Stars on the team. You look at the Lakers with LeBron and AD. The Clippers with Kawhi and Paul George. The Rockets with Russell and James Harden. You NEED to have two All-Stars. You have Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Two All-Stars already and now you’re going to sit up and find reasons why they can’t play together.”
“Their health is already a concern all the time between load management as well as Joel Embiid and his fitness, Ben Simmons of course and his injury, it’s a matter of how the Sixers are going to come together. There’s been a lot of inconsistency at times. We’ve seen with them especially in the postseason which is a time that you can’t get outcoached, you can’t have a lull where defensively you have letdown after letdown each play or you’re not knocking down shots, you’re not a threat from the perimeter.” Washington stated.
“You have to find – you have to play consistently in your best of seven each series. And although they got very unlucky last year with the four bounces that went the Raptors way with Kawhi Leonard’s incredible game-winning shot…it’s just every year the Sixers come playoff time are right there, but ALWAYS drop the ball and the big part of that is leadership. Who’s going to step up? The Sixers have another opportunity now to go down to Orlando, have a chance to go into the playoffs and make some noise.”
“On paper, they’re a team that SHOULD be a threat to come out the East, but how are they going to step up? Will they be consistent? Will they be healthy? Will they be able to have someone to steps up; Tobias Harris, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid…whoever it is that steps up in crunch time to take over and lead the team. There’s just a lot of question marks around the Sixers, but it’s hard I know – I have a lot of Sixers fans. My dad is a die-hard fan and they’re always saying the same thing, ‘We were so close. It’s always should’ve –could’ve-would’ve.’ So when will the Sixers turn that corner and be a top team in the East like they’re supposed to be?…so it’s gonna be interesting to see what happens now as the NBA is returning and hopefully returning to play to see; you’ve had months off. What have you been doing all this time? Have you been working or have you been slacking and sitting on the couch, or eating Wendy’s or whatever Joel Embiid always eats pregame? [laugh]”
“So it’s going to be very interesting to see how they come back and I would like to hope that they come back hungry and ready to prove themselves. A lot of people have the Bucks, the Raptors or the Celtics coming out of the East before even mentioning the Sixers. So if I’m anybody on the Sixers team or Brett Brown or anybody involved with the Sixers, I’m taking that personally that you’re not even being considered as the top three out of the East right now. So what are you going to do about it? So I’m hoping that this is going to be a time that they make some noise and make the most of this time the pandemic has given them.”