Sixers: 3 goals for training camp 2021

Doc Rivers, Sixers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Doc Rivers, Sixers (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports /

The Sixers enter training camp in the throes of one of the most agonizing and torturous offseasons in franchise history. The good vibes of a first-place finish in the East have long evaporated, replaced by the stinging embarrassment of a shocking second-round exit.

After the series ended, the writing was on the wall that the 76ers would trade Ben Simmons. Every day we woke up to a new rumor or trade suggestion moving him to Portland, Washington, and even China. None of these materialized, although I think we would all enjoy seeing Ben in a Shanghai Sharks uniform.

Thus, the 2021 training camp commences on Sept. 27 with an implicit understanding that the team will look very different by the NBA trade deadline. With that in mind, the 76ers should prioritize these three goals in training camp:

Goals for Sixers training camp: Keep the Ben Simmons distractions to minimum

The distractions surrounding Ben can manifest in two ways: one, he follows through on his threat not to report to training camp, or two, he attends training camp with lackluster effort and an attitude that sinks the morale of his teammates.

Coach Doc Rivers must do everything he can to insulate the team from the Ben circus. He should encourage the team to practice every day under the assumption that Ben is not coming back. Doc should explain to the players that they can only control their own play and that worrying about the Ben situation will only hurt them.

Without question, reporters will ask the players at every turn what they think about the Ben situation. The team should have stock answers to Ben questions so that the players do not even need to process that they are being asked about Ben. Rather, they can simply rattle off the same boilerplate and focus on practice.

Reducing the Ben distractions is no simple feat, but this is where coaches and front offices prove their mettle. Managing the interpersonal is a big part of the job and this crisis is an opportunity where Doc and Daryl Morey can make their respective cases for coach and GM of the year.