Philadelphia 76ers: Present and future on the line in Game 7 vs the Raptors

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Sunday Game 7 may be the biggest Philadelphia 76ers game in nearly 20 years, but it also could very well define the franchise’s future moving forward.

Sunday night will be the biggest Philadelphia 76ers‘ game since 2001. Thanks to a resurgent Game 6 win Thursday night, the Sixers will take on the Toronto Raptors in a winner-take-all Game 7. The Sixers’ first Game 7 since the 2012 postseason.

After years of losing and preaching patience, the “process” is on the verge of crossing another milestone off of its list. A win Sunday would be huge in terms of putting the Sixers one step away from the NBA Finals, but also in so many other respects.

It would be the Sixers first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since that 2001 season and would officially put the Sixers amongst the NBA’s elite for years to come. But as much as a win would mean to the franchise and the city, a loss could do just as much damage to the team.

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There has been much debate as to whether head coach Brett Brown was on the hot seat. It has been an everlasting debate that seemed to start once the Sixers reached relevancy last season, and the second-round loss to the Boston Celtics didn’t help that either.

Open up Twitter throughout a Sixers game and see fans calling for Brown’s job seemingly every time the team misses a shot, has a bad turnover or suffers a setback loss. Then continue scrolling and see another portion of fans quick to defend their beloved head coach.

It seems the anti-Brown segment is only quick to call out the coach following losses, but hesitant to give him credit following wins. While the opposite side will give Brown credit for the wins, and as previously stated, quickly comes to his defense in losses.

The fans can believe and debate what they want, but after this season concludes, whether that be Sunday night or later this month, the ultimate decision regarding Brown’s faith will come down to the Sixers front office. Whether that be Joshua Harris, Elton Brown, or somebody else.

Rumors have begun to surface though, that Brown’s job will be on the line in Sunday night’s Game 7.

Nobody truly knows the validity of this report and where the leak came from. This could be 100 percent true, could be a smokescreen, or could even be used as a motivational tool. The latter of such is one that seems very intriguing.

Knowing how much the players love Brown, which would make firing him foolish, it would make sense to float this story around as a motivational tool of such for the players. They always say do whatever it takes in Game 7s, so maybe this will be what it takes to get the Sixers’ best on Sunday night.

While reaching heights the Sixers haven’t reached since 2001 and saving their coaches job, Sunday’s Game 7 also has so much more on the line. The Sixers went all-in on the season, and it feels like anything short of an Eastern Conference Finals appearance would be disappointing, considering the Sixers were also knocked out in the second round last year.

The odds may be stacked against the Sixers in winning an NBA Championship should they win Sunday, but the roster was built to make a deep run this season, and it will be nearly impossible to sustain the whole team following this season.

Considering all the Sixers gave up for Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, it would be a tough blow to lose this soon in the playoffs. That alone makes Sunday night such a big game. It’s not just a must-win to keep the season alive but could be a must-win in terms of the direction of the franchise.

Back to Butler, the Sixers top priority will be to re-sign him in the offseason. It would be nice to get a player such as Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard, but giving Butler a super-max would not be a bad option at all. Winning Sunday and advancing in the playoffs definitely ups the chances of Butler staying in Philadelphia.

But it’s not just Butler, Harris and pretty much everyone not named Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will be free agents this summer and making it one step further in the playoffs will up the motivation for many of them to stay.

Simmons and Embiid will have a huge hand in whether the Sixers advance in the playoffs. The Sixers’ franchise cornerstones will have a lot of pressure on them and those two, along with Butler, playing well will do a long way in the Sixers postseason aspirations.

Mike Scott has earned a long-term deal. dark. Next

Sunday night, it is not just the Sixers’ season on the line, it is the present and future direction of the franchise, Brett Brown’s job, and so much more on the line.