The Philadelphia 76ers are a one-of-a-kind basketball team and, no matter how hard they try to avoid it, are stuck in a cycle of controversy and chaos.
As they stand on the court, the Sixers are a malleable collection of role players with a crown jewel in Joel Embiid. Off the court, however, the team cannot be more mysterious, as whirlwinds of Ben Simmons trade rumors illustrate conflicting sources and non-stop trade proposals.
The Sixers Theory is the weekly one-stop shop for everything revolving around the team during one of their most crucial moments in franchise history, aiming to bring enthralling game-recaps, accurate reporting on the Simmons situation and clarify the multitude of stories that are set to increase in the next 15 days.
The trade deadline is Feb. 10, so let’s see how the 76ers have been playing the past week.
Weekly Recap: Bell-Ringer Edition
Each week I will do game summaries in a different style than the last. To start off, I want to dig up a recently retired tradition.
Founded by former Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown, following a win, the player who showed the most heart in the game would ring a miniature Liberty Bell. Unfortunately, the fan-favorite tradition departed along with Brown in 2020. Not forgotten however, as this week’s recaps will feature my Bell-Ringer of the game.
Wednesday, Jan. 19: Philadelphia 76ers 123 – Orlando Magic 110
Bell Ringer: Sixers center Joel Embiid tied his career-high with an immaculate 50-point performance last Wednesday. It was quick to tell he was going to put on a show, scoring 20 of the team’s first 22 points. Finding themselves down by double digits at halftime, Embiid worked quickly to the floor, picked his spots and put up a 23-point third quarter, two-points shy of tying his own Sixers record for most points in a quarter. Embiid led the Sixers to the comeback win in only 27 minutes of play, culminating in a mind-boggling performance.
Friday, Jan. 21: Los Angeles Clippers 102 – Philadelphia 76ers 101
Bell Ringer: Gregg Popovich. “Why would the head coach of a team not involved in this game be ringing the bell,” you may ask. During the Friday-night matchup, the Sixers held a 24-point lead in the second half, and fans watched it dwindle away minute by minute, almost identical to the duo of playoff collapses against the Atlanta Hawks last year. With the game officially having slipped away from them, Head Coach Doc Rivers was asked post-game by Sixers reporter Austin Krell if he thought that some of the loss could be attributed to coaching. Rivers’ snarky response was irrational and unnecessary, saying “Would you ask Pop that question? No, you wouldn’t.” Congratulations San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich, you no longer have to answer questions about your job, ring that bell.
Sunday, Jan. 23: Philadelphia 76ers 115 – San Antonio Spurs 109
Bell Ringer: Hometown kid Charlie Brown Jr. did not fill up the stat line but did more than he was asked of when defending Spurs guard Dejounte Murray. The two-way St. Joe’s University product held the electric Murray to making only one of his six shot attempts and forced three turnovers as the primary defender. Without Matisse Thybulle, Brown Jr. was tasked with defending the Spurs primary ball handler during key stretches with starters on the floor. A tough assignment for a player who has spent most of the season with the G League team the Delaware Blue Coats. His success was vital to the Sixers holding their lead and ultimately winning the battle down in Texas.
Tuesday, Jan. 25: Philadelphia 76ers 117 – New Orleans Pelicans 107
Bell Ringer: Tobias Harris has been the subject of recent trade rumors and immense critique, and, as keen as he is at listening to social media, it was a great sight to see him drop 33 points on an efficient shooting night. The Sixers got off to a slow start, finding themselves behind the Pelicans, who were missing three starters, in addition to Zion Williamson. In the second quarter, Harris single-handedly kept the Sixers in striking distance. Almost as if he was passing a baton off, Joel Embiid picked up right where Harris left off in the third quarter. With an objectively bland first half of the season, a solid performance like this from Harris, especially on a night where the team needed it, could be a sign of better things to come.
- Thursday, Jan. 27: Loss vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- Saturday, Jan. 29: Win vs. Sacramento Kings
- Monday, Jan. 31: Win vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Next week’s Sixers Theory will break down upcoming Simmons rumors, possible landing spots and more.
For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.