By Connor Thomas
The Sixers are floundering right now, sitting at an even 11-11 on the year through their first month and change of basketball. They’re currently out of playoff position and if the season ended today, they would be a lottery team. It’s obviously not been a great start to the season, and the road may be getting harder in December. The Sixers have a manageable road trip that their on right now, but when they come back home they’ll be met by some of the best teams in the NBA. If Philly wants to right the ship, they are going to have an uphill battle to do so.
Next week isn’t terrible, as the Sixers play the Hawks in Atlanta tonight, then two games in a row in Charlotte against the improved but still developing Hornets. That all is manageable, but when they return to the Wells Fargo Center on the 9th, they’ll meet the Utah Jazz who are 3rd place in the Western Conference. There’s no weekend off following the Jazz’s visit; Steph Curry and the Warriors come into Philly on the 11th, followed by a Monday matchup with Ja Morant and Memphis. The Sixers play the Brooklyn Nets twice in the second half of this month, which will be a difficult task both at home and on the road. Miami, Boston, Toronto, and a hugely improved Washington team are all sprinkled in as well. It’s not totally a murderers’ row, but it’s very possible this month will be the toughest on the entire schedule for the Sixers. The only lock win that shows up before the New Years is a matchup with New Orleans, but there are no Thunders or Rockets or Magic or Pistons on the table. For a team that we’ve gotten used to having gimmes every other night, they don’t have more than one for the rest of 2021.
It’s troubling, but it’s not a death sentence. The Sixers have the talent to get hot and compete with any team in the NBA, but the issue is they haven’t really gotten hot since their opening 10 game stretch. Now, more than ever, they need a return to that form. Their schedule isn’t doing them any favors, and they haven’t shown any real signs of pulling out of the funk they’ve been in yet. Christmas Day is a huge mark for the NBA season, and while an easier schedule leading up to the holiday won’t be under the tree for the Sixers, hopefully they’ll find their stride as the calendar turns. It won’t be easy, but they need it in the worst way.