Philadelphia 76ers: The Real Issue Is That They Are Strangers On The Court [Opinion]

David ZalubowskiAP Images

The Philadelphia 76ers are young, and with that will come growing pains, such as the one they experienced Thursday in London against the Boston Celtics. The 76ers proved how dangerous they can be as they built a 22-point lead on one of the top teams in the NBA, however, it all came crashing down just as it has a few times this season already.

This is something they will have to fix as they take that all-important step into contender status.

The issue the Philadelphia 76ers are facing is not one of talent, but one of comfort. While the team is young, they have not been on the court as a unit for a full season yet. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are the faces, however, prior to this year, Embiid only had 31 games under his belt. Simmons, on the other hand, missed his rookie season in 2016, making this his first year.

While Dario Saric and Robert Covington have experience, they are still learning how to play with Embiid and Simmons. Let’s not forget the new additions of J.J. Redick, Trevor Booker, and Amir Johnson. It will take time for this team to reach its full potential, but they must find a way to get on the same page, fast.

Early in the year, the Oklahoma City Thunder were going through a similar phase after the trades for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. While these are veteran players, it shows that winning takes more than having talent on the floor. This is what the Philadelphia 76ers are experiencing now. According to CBS Sports, these are the growing pains a young team has to go through to develop.

Featured image credit: Chris SzagolaAP Images

Some fans are a bit impatient and can you really blame them? After years of trusting the process, they now want results. But they must take a step back and check the product on the floor. Simmons has replaced T.J. McConnell as the lead point guard, while Redick has replaced Gerald Henderson from last season. Saric is adjusting to a larger role, Covington is going through a slump and their top pick, and Markelle Fultz is still nursing an injury. All this is going on while Simmons and Embiid are trying to figure out their leadership roles when the game is on the line.

Talent is not the problem for this team. The issue is the unit becoming a team. While some faces are the same from last year, they still haven’t had time to learn what makes each player tick. Once Simmons, Embiid, Saric, Redick, and the rest of the guys learn how to play with one another, there will be less of these collapses that have plagued them this year. It just takes time, and games like the one against Boston that will make them stronger in the end.