What are the Sixers Missing and How does it get Fixed?

Joel Embiid (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Joel Embiid (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Sixers lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, again. That makes three years in a row and five of the past six seasons overall that have seen the 76ers come up short and lose in the second round of the playoffs. Now that we are a few weeks removed and had some time to reflect on the latest playoff disappointment let’s take a look at what went wrong and what the Sixers need to do going forward to exorcise their second-round demons.

Doc Rivers has taken a lot of criticism, the past two seasons especially, for the disappointing ways the seasons have ended. Now that Doc is gone there are no more excuses, no more scapegoats. It will be interesting to see how things change under Nick Nurse but all the pressure now falls on Daryl Morey’s roster building, Joel Embiid, and the historically inconsistent in playoffs, James Harden.

Joel Embiid is the MVP of the NBA. James Harden is still one of the most prolific and creative scorers in the league. Tyrese Maxey is exactly the kind of consistent and reliable high-end role player too, at his ceiling, a third option on a championship-caliber team that is needed to win in the Championship.

What is missing? What can the Sixers add to pull this all together? The answer is simple but filling the role is not.

The Sixers are missing a closer.

Someone with the killer instinct, a guy that when the team is down 4 with 2 minutes left says “Follow me.” Someone that comes into a series-clinching game 6 locked in and then goes out and drops 40 points and scores 15 in the fourth and sends their opponent home, not for a game 7, but for the off-season.

The Sixers are missing Jimmy Butler. That is who could bring this all together and get the Sixers at least one round further. That’s not the most realistic ask to go out and get Butler, his playoff track record is proven, though, making it all the more frustrating that for a brief time, they had the missing piece in their building. Maybe if Damian Lillard ever does seek to leave Portland he could be that missing piece. What will always make this difficult in Philadelphia is the cap situation and finding a trade package that brings in that type of player without giving up too many of their other assets.