Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers entered the 2019-20 NBA season with the goal of dominating the Eastern Conference and winning the NBA championship. Unfortunately, as of now, the Sixers don’t look like a team that is seriously aiming to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. After suffering their fourth consecutive defeat against the Houston Rockets on Friday night at Toyota Center, Embiid couldn’t help but express his frustration with the team’s inability to return to the winning column.
“Losing four in a row sucks, and it doesn’t feel like we’re getting better,” Embiid said in a post-game interview, as quoted by Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “So it is frustrating. I care about winning. It’s taking a toll on me. All I care about is winning. It sucks. We’ve got to find a way. I guess we’ve got to keep fighting.”
Despite their loss to the Rockets, 76ers head coach Brett Brown said that he likes the spirit he has seen with his team, especially when they closed the gap to five points in the fourth quarter. However, Brown also admitted that they have shown plenty of issues on both ends of the floor.
One of the things Brown thinks contributed to the 76ers’ frustration is their inability to limit the production of Harden, who finished the game with 44 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, one block, and one steal, while shooting 54.2 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
“Probably they were discouraged,” Brown said. “It’s hard guarding James Harden. You can ask them about it.”
Aside from failing to find an answer for Harden’s hot shooting, the 76ers’ poor floor-spacing was also exposed in their recent game against the Rockets. With most defenders clogging the paint, Embiid said that it became harder for him to score or make plays for his teammates.
“The way I’m being guarded, I’m being doubled every time I have the ball and everybody crowds the paint, so it’s kind of hard to just move the ball and just keep it moving and find ways to score,” he said.
Floor spacing has been a major problem for the 76ers since the start of the season, and as of now, it is greatly affecting their performance on the offensive end of the floor. The Sixers rank at No. 16 in offensive efficiency, scoring 106.9 points per 100 possessions, per ESPN.
So far, the 76ers are trying to find ways to address the issues on their roster. According to MacMahon, sources who spoke to ESPN revealed that the Sixers are currently active on the trade market, searching for perimeter shooting threats with playmaking ability.