Just how good are the Philadelphia 76ers this season?
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Philadelphia 76ers, Brett Brown

Just how good are the Philadelphia 76ers this season?

The 2019-20 NBA campaign has been an underwhelming one thus far for the Philadelphia 76ers. Many crowned Philly as the prohibitive favorites to come out of the East this season. While they still can, the 76ers are no longer the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. That title belongs to the Milwaukee Bucks, who at 53-12, own the league’s best record.

Philadelphia is currently knotted with the Indiana Pacers at 39-26 and are sitting as the sixth seed. Injuries have certainly played a role in the club’s inability to string together wins as of late. Superstar center Joel Embiid has been sidelined for 21 games dues to injury this season. Meanwhile, Ben Simmons has sat out 11. Embiid just returned in the Sixers’ last outing prior to the league-wide suspension. Simmons has not seen the court since Feb.22. Partly due to the absence of their two most integral talents, the 76ers are winners of only five of their last 10.

Sixers Absolutely Terrible on the Road

While Philly’s stars have been hit with the injury bug, it is far from the only reason why the squad has struggled. Possibly the most noteworthy is the fact that the Sixers own a flat-out abysmal record away from the Wells Fargo Center (10-24). Recently, Philly has lost on the road to both the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams have the worst record in their respective conferences. They have been defeated by inferior competition away from home quite often because their defense has not been nearly as great as advertised.

On paper, the 76ers boast terrifyingly outstanding defensive personnel, particularly in their starting five. Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Horford and Embiid are all terrific individual defenders. They possess length and the ability to switch onto different positions when need be. While they have shown flashes of excellent team defense — such as the Christmas Day thrashing of the Bucks — the team has not been able to consistently play with intensity on this side of the floor. Philadelphia ranks in the bottom half in the league in opponent points in the paint (48.2) and fast break points (14) allowed per game.

Why Sixers’ Road Troubles May Be An Issue

The Sixers have performed awfully on the road, but they are seemingly a totally different ball club at home. Philly is an NBA-best 29-2 when enjoying the comforts of home this season. Their fans are some of the most passionate in all of sports. And they seem to give the team a jolt of energy which ramps up their quality of play to another level. If nothing else, their outstanding record at home proves how much potential this 76ers team has if they can play with unwavering effort and energy.

How good is Philadelphia truly? Well, they can beat any team at home on any given night. But on the road is a totally different story. It will be a tall task for even the East’s strongest contenders to come away with wins in the Wells Fargo Center come playoff time. But, the team plays poorly when they’re away from their building.

Philly could be sent packing in the first round if they do not find out how to win in hostile environments.