The Philadelphia 76ers underwent some major overhauls following the NBA Bubble in Orlando. Philadelphia struggled for much of the 2019-20 season as the flawed plan of their front office led to uneven play on the court.
There were discussions about what the team had to do to get things back on track. The team brought on Daryl Morey to lead the front office. Doc Rivers, who was relieved of his duties with the LA Clippers, was brought on as head coach. Next, they had to figure out the roster.
Some believed the tandem of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid had run its course and it was time for a big move. Morey decided against that. Instead, he built the roster around them to better fit their playing styles. So far, the results have been very positive.
Philadelphia is in first place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 19-10, which also leads the Eastern Conference. There has been a lot that has gone into the turnaround, which was recently pointed out by an NBA scout.
“The biggest improvement for Philly, other than [hiring head coach] Doc [Rivers] and the respect he commands, is getting everyone back at their normal positions,” an Eastern Conference scout said. “Tobias [Harris] is at the 4, and now they’re not trying to play a 4 and two 5s at the same time.”
Sometimes, it is something that simple to get things back on track. Philadelphia miscalculated bringing Al Horford in to play alongside Joel Embiid in the starting lineup. They went even bigger with Josh Richardson also in the starting five.
What resulted was an ugly brand of basketball. The 76ers were going bigger while everyone else was going smaller, more focused on the perimeter. As a result, Philadelphia struggled. This season, they revamped their gameplan.
Richardson and Horford were traded away, with Danny Green and Seth Curry being brought on. The 76ers added two bonafide snipers to help space the court in the starting five alongside Simmons and Embiid. And as the scout noted, Tobias Harris was able to slide back into the power forward spot with Green and Curry handling the wings.
Thus far, things have worked well. Philadelphia is better balanced on both ends of the court with Tobias Harris now in his natural position. They can now handle NBA teams slowing things down and playing in the halfcourt, an area they struggled mightily in during recent seasons.
While some people are waiting for the other foot to drop, the 76ers look like a well-oiled machine ready to make another postseason run. With an MVP candidate in Embiid and another star in Ben Simmons, they will be a difficult out once the playoffs roll around.