The Philadelphia 76ers have had championship hopes ever since Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid joined the team. Simmons and Embiid make up one of the most exciting duos in the NBA, but they haven’t yet been surrounded by a capable roster.
That might be changing next season, though, as the Sixers just landed the missing piece to their franchise that they desperately needed.
The 76ers have made some brutal team-building mistakes recently
Most Philly fans blame the signings of Al Horford and Tobias Harris for their disappointing finish to the 2020 season, but the 76ers made numerous managerial mistakes far before inking those massive contracts.
In 2017, when the Sixers had both Simmons and Embiid on the roster, Philadelphia earned the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. The team selected Markelle Fultz, and we all know how that turned out. Fultz lasted just two seasons in Philadelphia and was shipped to the Orlando Magic for some spare change and a few ball racks.
Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum, who was selected two picks after Fultz, has already grown into a superstar for the Boston Celtics. The Sixers could’ve been the kings of the Eastern Conference for years to come with Simmons, Embiid, and Tatum on the same roster.
Two years after the disastrous Fultz pick, the Sixers traded away Robert Covington and Dario Saric to Minnesota for Jimmy Butler. The move got them to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 2019, but Butler skipped town after the season to join the Miami Heat.
The next season, Philadelphia sent Landry Shamet and a few veterans to the Clippers for Tobias Harris. The Sixers then signed Al Horford in the offseason to pair with Embiid down low, and they gave Harris and Horford $289 million combined.
So what did all the flip-flopping and roster turnover get them? A sweep in the first round of the 2020 playoffs.
The Sixers land Daryl Morey
After years of ineptitude ever since Sam Hinkie was relieved of his duties, the Sixers have finally found the solution to their front office issues.
On Wednesday afternoon, the 76ers reached a five-year agreement with former Rockets GM Daryl Morey to take over their basketball operations, according to NBA Insider Shams Charania. Philadelphia hasn’t had a competent team-builder since Simmons and Embiid became superstars, but they just nabbed one of the best in the business.
Morey built the Rockets into a championship contender with his unique approach and infatuation with analytics. The main premise? Build a roster filled with shooters and versatile defenders. Shoot 3-pointers and layups and nothing in between.
His controversial approach almost led the Rockets to an NBA Finals appearance in 2018, but their chances were soiled by a Chris Paul injury in Game 5 against the Golden State Warriors.
What will Morey bring to the 76ers?
The 76ers have lacked above-average shooters to pair with Simmons and Embiid for a few years now. Morey, who’s in love with the three-ball, will make it a priority to surround them with spot-up snipers on the perimeter.
The NBA has morphed into a shooter’s league in recent years. You can’t win a title today without adopting the approach Morey and the Warriors have employed over the last few seasons. The 76ers haven’t caught up with the times yet, but hiring Morey signifies they’re ready to.
If Morey can unload Horford and his $109 million contract, even better. And who knows? Maybe Simmons can turn into a competent 3-point shooter under Morey’s leadership. Hey, crazier things have happened.