The Philadelphia 76ers have clearly struggled after their hot start to the season and there’s one common denominator to their recently losses.
In the beginning of the season, the Philadelphia 76ers looked like a juggernaut with the 5-0 record. Yet, they’ve gone 2-4 in the past six games. There’s a lot of factors that lead to these losses, but one thing stands out more than anything else and that has to be that the Sixers can’t be success without their whole starting five available.
Some could point to Joel Embiid‘s somewhat slow start to the season (by his standards anyway), Tobias Harris‘ abysmal shooting from the 3-point line or Ben Simmons‘ steadfast unwillingness to even attempt a 3-pointer. All of which are valid concerns and I’m not here to debate that they aren’t. However, it’s clear that those issues can be overcome whenever all five starters play.
Whenever all five starters are available, the 76ers are 3-1. That’s right, the team’s regular starters have only been available for four games. Embiid was ejected after his fight with Karl-Anthony Towns in the Minnesota Timberwolves game and Ben Simmons got hurt against the Utah Jazz for two of those four games that all five members of the starting unit began the game.
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Embiid has missed a total of four games so far and the team’s has played in 11. To put that into perspective, he’s missed almost half the games that the team has played thus far this season. Granted two of those games were due to a suspense as a result of the fight with Towns. There are two other starters that have missed time this season. Simmons has missed two games due to his injury and Al Horford missed one game due to rest.
Without all regular members of the starting five in the lineup, Philly is only 4-3. That should be a major warning sign for the fans and the 76ers front office. It not only shows the team’s chemistry isn’t where it needs to be, but it also shows some major flaws in the club’s depth chart.
In games where Matisse Thybulle started, the Sixers went 2-0. In the two games that Raul Neto started in, the 76ers are 1-1. Furkan Korkmaz has been head coach Brett Brown’s go to fill in starter as of late and Philly’s record is 1-2 with him in the starting five. Clearly, Thybulle’s defense was an ingredient to a winning formula whenever the Sixers are without a starter. It should be something that Brown should continue to experiment with in the future.
Hopefully, as the Philadelphia 76ers chemistry’s builds, some of the flaws on the bench will be hidden. Brown is working with a lot of news players and is clearly still trying to figure out roles and rotations, especially when he loses a starter for a game. This isn’t an easy problem to fix, but it’s fixable with time as chemistry builds and roles become clearer.