By Bob Cooney
The list is long and filled with recognizable names. From Jimmy Butler to JJ Redick and all the Belinellis and Ilyasovas and Simmonses you can think of.
There have been a couple of head coaches, different general managers and a slew of assistants whose resume has or will include being head coaches in the league. And yet, here we are, frustrated as all hell with yet another underwhelming playoff performance by the 76ers.
The one constant. Joel Embiid. Now don’t read too quickly into this and think that I am blaming Joel Embiid for playoff past and present failures. Quite the opposite. He is one of, if not the, best player in the league and we are fortunate to see him show off those unimaginable skills on a nightly basis.
But here in may lay the problem. Joel Embiid does things on a basketball court that no one has ever done at 7-2 and 280 pounds. No one has ever coached a player like him and none have ever played with a player like him.
Is it a case of this being a problem, of trying to figure out how best to surround him to ensure more success than they have been able to have in the playoffs, which so far has climaxed in a Game 7 loss to Toronto? Is it a problem in a way of trying to figure out how to coach a team with a guy like Embiid. Perhaps. Maybe it’s a combination of the two.
I certainly do not see Joel Embiid as being the problem of playoff failure. All the guy does pretty much every night, is go out and be the best player on the floor. You cannot fault him for that. But someone, whether it be Daryl Morey, Elton Brand, Doc Rivers or some other coach has to figure it out before Joel Embiid loses his prime ability.
Just ask Al Horford, Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Marco Belinelli, T.J. McConnell, Ersan Ilyasova, Jimmy Butler, Seth Curry, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Mike Scott, Dwight Howard, James Harden and Tobias Harris.