Sixers: What must change next season

Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Ben  Simmons, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers — fraudulent, unserious contenders — lost in seven games to the Atlanta Hawks, a good team that has no business in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Sixers shot themselves in the foot time and time again, blowing big leads and cracking under pressure.

Now another offseason of mystery awaits. More big change is imperative, and most fans already have a name or two in mind. This is when Daryl Morey gets put to the test. He pulled the Sixers out of a bad place in year one, but now he has to elevate them to the level of other contenders. The Sixers cannot fail Joel Embiid again.

Here’s what needs to change.

What must change for the Sixers next season: Ben  Simmons

The time has come. Ben Simmons melted under the pressure against Atlanta, and there’s no way Philadelphia can, in good faith, run it back. Simmons still has value and is still a tremendous basketball player, but the Hawks clearly got under his skin, and he could not escape his own mental prison in the series’ final four games.

Philadelphia has to make major foundational change once again. Embiid needs another high-end perimeter creator who can run the offense effectively and share his burden late in games. Simmons cannot provide that, and he was too egregiously unplayable in this series to ever step in front of the Philly faithful again. This may be a slight overreaction on the logical scale, and the Sixers could try to bring in guard help next to Simmons, but no one in that city wants Ben on the team. That’s a tough position to be in.

He is one of the best defenders on the planet and a good number of teams would be smart to pursue him. He can still impact winning at a high, high level. But, in Philadelphia, with how this roster is built, he simply cannot stay.

Fire up that trade machine.