When they acquired Al Horford and Josh Richardson and retained Tobias Harris last summer, most people expected the Philadelphia 76ers to be a serious contender for the championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season. Unfortunately, as of now, the Sixers are yet to live up to expectations from an NBA team supposed to be a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference. Aside from dealing with multiple injuries, another major factor believed to have contributed to the Sixers’ struggle is the dismal performance of their two biggest signings in the 2019 NBA free agency — Horford and Harris.
As of now, Brad Botkin of CBS Sports thinks that the Sixers must be starting to regret the way they spent their money in the 2019 NBA offseason. The Sixers signed Horford to a four-year, $109 million contract with the belief that his arrival would boost their frontcourt and give them someone able to guard the likes of Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo when the real battle begins in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. However, since the current NBA season started, Horford is still struggling to make himself fit with the Sixers’ system and has failed to efficiently coexist with All-Star center Joel Embiid.
“To say Horford has been a disaster this year would be an understatement,” Botkin wrote. “He’s redundant while on the floor with Embiid, which takes him out of the low- and high-post areas in which he thrives and shoves him out to the 3-point line, where he’s shooting 31 percent, which in turn does Simmons absolutely no good. The Sixers signed Horford because they were a mess when Embiid was off the floor last year, particularly in the playoffs, but a backup center is hardly worth $109 million.”
Meanwhile, despite posting decent numbers in the 2019-20 NBA season, most people still believe that the Sixers overpaid Harris in free agency. The Sixers immediately handed Harris a max deal for fear of losing him without getting anything in return last summer. However, if he could have decided for the Sixers, Botkin thinks that they should have targeted Bojan Bogdanovic or Malcolm Brogdon instead of re-signing Harris. Brogdon and Bogdanovic could provide the same impact as Harris while giving the Sixers enough money remaining to improve their depth.
As of now, the Sixers have no choice but just try to make the best out of the current talents on their roster. The outcome of the 2019-20 season will be vital for the Sixers as it could play a major role in their decision in summer 2020. If they fall short of achieving their main goal, the jobs of Coach Brett Brown and GM Elton Brown will be in jeopardy, and the Sixers may finally decide to break the duo of Embiid and Ben Simmons.