Sixers Roster Shakeup Predicted After Celtics Catastrophe

Tobias Harris Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Tobias Harris #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Philadelphia 76ers spent much of the summer revamping a roster that once again failed to maximize its potential and bowed out of the playoffs early. The additions of Montrezl Harrell, De’Anthony Melton, PJ Tucker, and Danuel House were thought to give the squad a new identity and added defensive tenacity.

From what we saw on Tuesday night, this year’s iteration of the Sixers doesn’t look that much different from the last time we saw them against the Miami Heat in May. Joel Embiid looked sluggish, the defense was torched by twin 35-point games from Celtics stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and the vaunted bench unit saw little action.

The poor performance led Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer to argue that the hype surrounding this Sixers squad was unwarranted.

“If all teams in the Eastern Conference are healthy, the Sixers as presently constructed have a zero percent chance of winning the NBA Finals,” O’Connor said on The Bill Simmons Podcast Wednesday.

Shortly after, host Bill Simmons echoed O’Connor’s skepticism, but added his own caveat: “I have a feeling the team we watched tonight won’t be the team they have in February,” Simmons offered.

If the Sixers were to make any moves, O’Connor and Simmons highlighted one player who might get shipped: Tobias Harris.

O’Connor: Tobias Harris ‘Not a Great Fit’ in Sixers Lineup

After pumping the brakes on Philadelphia’s title chances, O’Connor identified Tobias Harris’ awkward fit in this Sixers lineup as a real problem.

“Tobias Harris, most of all, just not a great fit,” O’Connor explained. “I know he didn’t have the worst night. Just not good enough on defense. [He] misses rotations, [he’s] not a stopper on-ball, and offensively, I think he’s a very replaceable guy, for given his role, even though he can do more if the offense decides to demand that out of him.”

For Harris, the problem is rarely him having a “bad night,” as O’Connor mentioned. Harris’ critical failing is an utter lack of memorable moments on the court. Rather than take the game by storm, Harris has a tendency to float through games. The problem? The Sixers aren’t paying Harris $77 million over the next two years for a one-sentence line reading at the community theater. But given that his contract expires next year, Harris’ oft-vilified contract is slowly losing its albatross status.

“Harris is more tradeable this year than he was last year. $37.6 [million] this year and $39.2 [million] next year. That’s it. They don’t have a lot of pick flexibility.”

Simmons and O’Connor’s predicted Sixers shakeup was not limited to players, either. The pair took aim at Doc Rivers after he poorly managed the Sixers’ loss to Boston.

Simmons: Doc Rivers’ ‘Leash is Short’

Infusing the roster with fresh blood is only one of the many ways a front office can try and recharge a team. Another way? Coaching change.

“I said this before the sesaon and I’ll say it again: the leash is short,” Simmons said. “The way they looked tonight, same old Sixers, super slow, bad transition defense, offense getting bogged down, didn’t love the body language.

“If this team is 8-8 after 16 games or 8-9 or whatever, slow start, that’s it. They’re going to make a coaching change. It’s gonna happen.”

If the Sixers decided to make a change at head coach, the club certainly lacks no shortage of options. Perennial head coaching candidate Sam Cassell is Sixers assistant, as is Dave Joerger, former Sacramento Kings head coach.

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