The Sixers are too top-heavy to weather even the smallest injury

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

New day, same problems for the Sixers; honestly, is anyone really surprised?

On Saturday night, the Philadelphia 76ers took the court in a game tailor-made to be an easy victory. Sure, they were without Tobias Harris, who apparently is paramount to the team’s success (more on that later), but otherwise, their roster was more or less healthy.

The Cavaliers, by contrast, were undermanned to say the least.

Down Kevin Love, Andre Drummond, Larry Nance, Cedi Osman, Taurean Prince, Matthew Dellavedova, and Broderick Thomas, surely J. B. Bickerstaff’s squad wouldn’t be able to outduel the best team in the Eastern Conference on their home court even with their dynamic backcourt duo with a mildly NSFW nickname.

Boy, was that assumption wrong.

Though the Sixers were ultimately able to take the game to extra frames, they were unable to outlast the Cavs and ultimately saw their winning streak hauled prematurely at two.

*sigh* and unfortunately, this will likely continue to happen for the foreseeable future because of how the roster is constructed.

How deep is your bench, the Sixers?

More from Section 215

The NBA is unquestionably the most star-driven league in all of professional sports.

Sure, having a star quarterback like Patrick Mahomes, a dynamic hitter like Mike Trout, or a high-volume netminder like MacKenzie Blackwood can help shape the fortunes of other teams in other leagues, but in the NBA, one star can be the difference between a trip to the lottery and the Finals for better or worse.

This is the thought process behind why oh so many fans wanted the Sixers to trade for James Harden – which has turned out pretty well for the Nets – and why fans have now turned their attention to bringing home Kyle Lowry, even if he’s far from the player The Beard has developed into over the last decade.

With that being said, if you don’t put a quality supporting cast around a star-studded starting lineup, even the best stars will only push you so far.

Case and point, the Sixers’ loss to the Cavs, where Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid combined for 66 points, and the rest of the roster amassed a paltry 43 points split over eight players.

You can see similar supporting cast issues with the Boston Celtics, as they’ve seen their perceived success absolutely impeded by injuries and ineffective roster composition, but hey, that’s a story for another day.

While one could look at the loss of Harris and point to that as the biggest reason why the Sixers were unable to outlast Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, it’s actually a symptom of a bigger issue; that despite having reshaped the roster both in free agency and the draft, Daryl Morey‘s roster is still incomplete.

Now sure, one could knock Morey for bringing back non-contributors like Terrance Ferguson and Vincent Poirier alongside Danny Green in the Al Horford trade or for his decision to only really add one legitimate contributor in free agency in ex-Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, but ultimately that isn’t really why the Sixers’ bench is bad. Even if the Sixers were able to land a guard like Alec Burks, Reggie Jackson, or Langston Galloway, that wouldn’t have instantly fixed the team’s issues.

No, by Morey’s own admission, this team is very much a work in progress and will surely need to undergo another facelift to really enter its final form heading into the playoffs.

Now that Morey knows what Doc Rivers likes to do and has watched the same 34 games as the rest of us, surely he’ll work the phones, scour the free agency market, and then evaluate the waiver wires to settle on the best possible way to fortify the Sixers’ roster, right?

I guess time will tell.

With only two more games left to play before the NBA All-Star break, Morey will surely stand pat with the roster as it’s presently constructed and then get to work on re-work-ing the Sixers roster before the March 25th trade deadline, if not their first game back versus the Chicago Bulls on March 11th.

While landing that superstar player many a fan craves to top-load the Sixers’ roster even further, the team would still be a single injury away from being right back in the same boat they are in right now at full strength and a second injury away from being the Sixers squad that lost to the lowly Cavs in overtime.

Upgrading Green and Tyrese Maxey into a player like Kyle Lowry is certainly an upgrade, but swapping out players like Terrence Furgeson and Vincent Poirier for players like P.J. Tucker and J.J. Redick could be just as impactful, maybe even more so.

Will the real Furkan Korkmaz please stand up?. dark. Next

There’s no doubt about it; this is a very good Philadelphia 76ers team. They have a pair of young stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons who are just entering their primes and a complimentary third star who has proven a revelatory addition to Doc Rivers’ Big 3. With that being said, the Sixers aren’t a finished product and will continue to struggle with the same old issues until they are addressed once and for all. But hey, don’t feel too bad for Daryl Morey; assuming the Sixers don’t finish out the season on a sour note and it all gets blown up, many of these growing pains will be smoothed out as the roster comes further into focus. For now though, we wait to see what Morey has up his sleeve.