The 2021 NBA playoffs for the Philadelphia 76ers aren’t talked about a lot. That’s as a result of the staff’s core utterly fell aside within the Japanese Convention semifinals and was despatched packing by an underdog Atlanta Hawks staff. Ben Simmons would request a commerce shortly after, and the remaining is historical past.
Ben Simmons struggled in opposition to the Atlanta Hawks, however he wasn’t alone
Simmons’ struggles within the 76ers sequence in opposition to the Hawks are effectively documented (9.9 PPG, 8.6 APG, 6.3 RPG), and the fan response to his struggles most likely pushed him over the ledge when it got here to requesting a commerce out of Philly. It got here to the purpose the place Simmons was passing up open layups, and the Hawks have been fouling him to ship him to the free throw line, the place he shot simply 33.3 %.
Simmons was generally unplayable throughout this sequence, and whereas he’s an enormous motive for the 76ers collapse, he wasn’t the one one. If it weren’t for Simmons’ traditionally awful efficiency, Philadelphia’s star heart Joel Embiid would have obtained way more criticism for his efficiency over the sequence’ ultimate two video games.
It could appear loopy to recommend contemplating Embiid averaged 30.4 factors per recreation throughout this sequence and was the first catalyst for the Sixers’ offense. However Embiid struggled in different areas of the sport, particularly with turnovers.
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Over the sequence’ ultimate two video games in opposition to the Hawks, Embiid had 16 complete turnovers. His ultimate one in Sport 7 most likely ended up placing the sport to relaxation. General, Embiid averaged 4.7 turnovers per recreation throughout this sequence in opposition to the Hawks, exhibiting that whereas he was scoring, he additionally gave Atlanta free factors on the opposite finish.
Did Ben Simmons should get criticized as a lot as he did for his play in opposition to the Atlanta Hawks within the 2021 NBA playoffs?
The media destroyed Simmons for his play in opposition to the Hawks within the 2021 playoffs, and for good motive. And whereas Embiid was strong, he struggled as effectively. We’re coming off a postseason the place Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics acquired ripped for the variety of turnovers he was committing, however surprisingly sufficient, Embiid’s turnover woes have been remarkable when the world was falling aside in Philadelphia.
Now, it’s clear Embiid had a a lot better sequence than Simmons; no one is disputing that. However was the 76ers loss to the Hawks solely Simmons’ fault? In no way. Regardless of his incapability to attain, Simmons nonetheless served as a strong playmaker for his teammates. Actually, when the 76ers tried to have Embiid provoke offense, that’s when Atlanta compelled him into most of his turnovers.
Once more, this comes with caveats, because the 76ers have been making an attempt to maintain the ball out of Simmons’ fingers as a result of the Hawks would merely foul him and ship him to the road. However Simmons was nonetheless doing sufficient defensively to decelerate the Hawks and as a passer on offense to justify enjoying time. If he weren’t, he wouldn’t have been on the courtroom.
Embiid’s turnover numbers are attention-grabbing, because it paints a unique image of Simmons’ struggles all through that sequence. Sure, he was horrible, however he wasn’t alone. Had Simmons, Embiid, or anybody on the Sixers, performed higher, they’d have overwhelmed the Hawks. However the media harped on Simmons once they misplaced, and he couldn’t go away Philly quick sufficient.
It’s an attention-grabbing perspective, and whereas Simmons deserves his justifiable share of the blame, Philly’s loss in opposition to Atlanta within the 2021 playoffs wasn’t solely his fault, regardless of what 76ers followers in every single place will inform you.