The Philadelphia 76ers got off to a hot start this season. The new-look 76ers with Doc Rivers as new head coach looked like a dangerous team. In fact, the 76ers had the best record in the league at one point and were even being touted as title contenders. However, their early-season momentum seems to have diminished after another disappointing loss, this time to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Doc Rivers spoke to the press after the 76ers game against Memphis. Rivers was unhappy with the performance of his players and publically criticized them for it. Rivers is not interested in excuses or the number of players available. He believes that there is no reason for a team as talented as his to be playing in such a ‘sloppy’ manner.
He said, “I just didn’t like how we played…We were so sloppy. It’s not who played tonight. For me, it was how we played. I thought we were a sloppy basketball team and when you play that way, you deserve to lose the game.”
Rivers’ criticism can be considered a little harsh. The 76ers’ roster is still recovering from a major COVID-19 outbreak that sidelined much of the team.
Since the outbreak, Philly has been fielding a make-shift team in order to continue playing games and not postponing them. With players playing out of position, it can be difficult to build momentum.
It’s difficult to develop long-lasting chemistry in a team with so many new faces. And disruption in playing together due to the outbreak is clearly having an adverse effect on the chemistry of the 76ers. Players who started the season well, like Seth Curry, have been sidelined due to protocols dictated by the NBA.
However, it is still very early in the season, and the 76ers have shown shades of their caliber even in losses. Joel Embiid has been playing at an MVP level under Doc Rivers, and Ben Simmons has continued to develop under the new coach. Additionally, the two players benefit by having veterans like Dwight Howard, Danny Green, and Seth Curry around.
Can the Philadelphia 76ers turn their season around after this loss? It sure looks like it. This loss is nothing more than an outlier, and given the 76ers’ good early-season form and high potential, this loss will only be a blip on their radar in the long run.
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