The Philadelphia 76ers have consistently made the playoffs in recent years with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons leading the way. However, underlying conflicts and poor roster construction nuked last season, resulting in major changes across the organization. Daryl Morey is now in place as president and Doc Rivers has replaced Brett Brown as head coach.
It seems there was a disconnect with Simmons and the old coaching staff, and it really came to a head last season.
Simmons became so disillusioned with the Sixers staff, he did much of his work outside the facility under the watchful eye of trainer Chris Johnson. That erosion of trust only further contributed to the splintered chemistry on the floor and tension among coaches and players.
As expected, Embiid’s name was also dragged into the speculation regarding the team’s chemistry as a whole. In fact, a former Sixers staffer admitted that “there just wasn’t a whole lot of communication” between the two stars, per ESPN.
After a disappointing first-round playoff exit marred by Simmons’ season-ending knee injury, the Sixers opened a new chapter by hiring Rivers and then Morey. Not long after Rivers’ hiring, the 2008 champion tactician immediately demanded transparency and unity between Simmons and Embiid in order to make the new partnership work. He instructed the former to be more aggressive in games and study film, while he required the latter to be in better shape for the upcoming season.
Simmons appreciates how Rivers has approached coaching him:
“I appreciate how honest he is with me,” Simmons says. “The other night, he called me over in the middle of the game and said, ‘Are you going to the f—ing rim or what?’ I like that.”
After all the surprising revelations, it seems like a change in culture should do the trick for the historic franchise to regain its old glory. With a revamped lineup under a new regime, the Sixers are hoping that they have finally found the right combination of pieces that will ultimately bring them to the promised land.