Since the NBA All Star Break the Philadelphia 76ers have struggled mightily, eventually relinquishing the Atlantic Division lead to the Boston Celtics. Fingers have been pointed, players have been blamed, coaches have been ridiculed, and ownership has been questioned. But What is really to blame for the 6ers struggles?
The simple thing to do would be to look at the player with the biggest contract and blame them. That’s a habit us fans need to break. The fact is that there are so many fingers to point that we don’t have enough fingers. Lets start with the only 76er to make the NBA All Star game, Andre Iguodala. Its a fair assessment that Andre has not been a great scoring threat, and surely he deserves criticism for that, but if you think the problems are all because of Andre you are mistaken.
What pure scorers do we have on this team? Evan Turner has been entirely too inconsistent since taking the starting role from Jodie Meeks. Now maybe Doug Collins deserves some criticism for not using Turner properly, as Turner is more of an on the ball guard than an off the ball guard, but Turner has got to start finding a way to make the most of his playing time if he wants to be any sort of player in the NBA.
How about Lou Williams, who is part of the nicknamed “night shift” bench for the 76ers. He has been another player who has struggled late in games. Lou has been depended on a few times to make last minute shots and has been unable to do so. Lou Williams is a nice player but he has struggled defensively as of late.
The bottom line is that no player has played up to their potential. You look at a guy like Elton Brand, who has been very up and down over the past few months, and you wonder if he is really worth the contract. I like the veteran leadership that Brand brings, along with his gritty play at times, but hes been far to inconsistent.
To sum it up, the scorers aren’t scoring. The players who are supposed to be your shooters, your assassins from outside the paint, arent making enough of an impact on the game. Far to often you see the 6ers shooting in the low 30s, something you cannot do in the NBA and expect to have success.
So what can be done to cure the woes of this team? The problem is, I’m not sure there is a cure. I think there are band-aids, but is there a cure all right now? No. The cure would be to finally address the fact that there is no pure scorer on this team in the off season. The 6ers need a player who is less streaky and more consistent. A player who can stop the bleeding of a 6-0, 8-0, or 12-2 run. But that isn’t a problem that can be addressed right now. That won’t help the team this year.
The solution this year is to find an identity besides a team who is going to battle defensively. I would like to see this team go to the rim more and draw some fouls. If this team could find its stroke from the free throw line, it could do wonders for their lack of scoring. Not only that, but when you foul the other team, you force them to play a different style of defense. You may even get some of their star players in foul trouble early.