NBA Fan Attacks Joel Embiid While Defending Ben Simmons During 2021 Hawks Series: "Very Few People Talk About The Fact That Joel Embiid Had 16 Turnovers In The Final 2 Games Of That Series."
The Philadelphia 76ers currently is one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. With a superstar like Joel Embiid leading the way and an experienced guard like James Harden supporting him, Philly looks like a probable contender for next season.
Before the James Harden trade, though, the 76ers had another big man and guard combination featuring Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. For years, the Simmons-Embiid duo looked great for the 76ers and they looked like the real deal with some of their playoff performances as well. Although the fit wasn't that great, it seemed like the duo was destined for greatness.
Going into the 2021 playoffs, the 76ers were one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference. But the team had a meltdown against the Atlanta Hawks. Despite playing Game 7 on their home court, the 76ers couldn't close out game 7 against the Hawks. Probably one of the most telling moments of the series was by Ben Simmons in game 7 when he passed up an open basket and passed the ball instead.
Since that day, Simmons understandably became public enemy number 1 and didn't even suit up for the franchise last season, opting to sit out his days in Philly before eventually being traded. But a fan recently raised a rather controversial take claiming that it was wrong to only blame Simmons for the 76ers failure in the 2021 playoffs, rather Joel Embiid was also equally responsible for the loss against the Hawks.
Everyone talks about Ben Simmons passing up a dunk in the 2021 playoffs vs the Hawks. Very few people talk about the fact that Joel Embiid had 16 turnovers in the final 2 games of that series.
While Embiid did have 8 turnovers each in the last two games of the playoffs, it was mainly because of how less reliant Simmons had become against the Hawks averaging horrendous numbers from the free throw line as well. The 6'10" point guard handling the ball meant the Hawks often applied a Hack-A-Simmons technique, which led to more and more missed free throws.
The 76ers now clearly will be focused on the championship. Given that the team couldn't make much headway in the playoffs last season, getting their superstars in the best shape will be a priority. Can James Harden be the missing puzzle to the 76ers' title puzzle?