It is the 2019 playoffs, Kawhi travels, shoots the balls, 1,000,000 bounces before the balls goes in, and the 76ers are sent home in what could have been a championship team. That team Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, JJ Reddick, and the Nets PG/PF. That offseason the SIxers have a choice, stick with the coach and Tobias Harris or go with Jimmy Butler and JJ Reddick. They went with Brett Brown and Tobias Harris. The 76ers signed Harris to a 5 year $180 million dollar contract, retained Brown and fired him in 2020. Jimmy went to Miami, lost in the NBA Bubble Finals in 2020, and just eliminated the 76ers in the 2022 NBA Playoffs. After the elimination game Jimmy is yells " they chose Tobias Harris over me?" Now looking back at it, was Jimmy the correct path all along? He was.
Picking Tobias Harris over Jimmy Butler was obviously the wrong choice. Jimmy is much more consistent and just an overall better player than Tobi. However, picking Tobias went much much deeper. Jimmy was not a fan of Brett Brown...instead they picked Brett over Jimmy. Does Brett Brown have a job right now?
Now the 76ers dug themselves in a hole that they will not be able to get themselves out of. The best thing about the 2019 76ers was their depth. The 76ers threw all of that away with the James Harden deal. All of which could have been avoided by keeping Jimmy Butler.
James Harden could make a stupid amount of money in the 2022-23 season. Whatever dumb contract he is given, I bet you it is not worth the production we will get from Harden. Now imagine, Jimmy Butler on this same team. Do you think we win the East? I think we do. Jimmy Butler > James Harden. If this was Houston Harden, this would not be a conversation, but he is not even close to the same player. He does not require the same attention. On defense he is irrelevant. Jimmy is a game changer on both sides of the ball...something the 76ers do not have outside of Embiid.
Tobias Harris has been crazy inconsistent. Every year he plays great in the first half, misses the all star team, and then goes missing. He is hot and cold all the time. Has games where he should be coming off the bench in the DIII, but then plays like an All-NBA. He is not worth the contract he was given. Overall, the entire contract has been a disaster. I expect players with that contract to play elite. Jimmy Butler has done that in Miami.
What would you say if I said Tobias made more money than Kyrie, Luka, Bradley Beal, Karl Anthony-Towns, Nikola Jokic, and many many more. Or how Embiid is not even getting that kind of money? Tobias Harris makes more than Joel Embiid. Is Tobias the first option? Is he even the 4th option? No he is not. Imagine that salary spread-out with role players with a deep bench. That has been their achillies heal the last two seasons, and the source of the problem was right in front of them. Even if we gave Butler that exact contract, we'd get double the production.
The hole the 76ers dug themselves into, is going to be tough to get themselves out. We gave out bad contracts to Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons. Now we are stuck with one and once Ben had a mental breakdown, we were stuck making dumb trades to try and make the situation better. The hole we are in, is to deep to dig out of. We can find a team to take Tobias' contract, but there is no way we can get equal value back. The 76ers need bench and role players. However, no team will give that up for this contract, as we will end up with 2nd round picks.
This all could have been avoided by keeping Jimmy Butler in 2019. Combining Joel Embiid and Butler would have been an easy NBA Championship. We have starters who should be coming off the bench right now. Imagine putting them in their proper roles. Both Butler and Embiid would require so much attention that it would allow Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry easy looks all game long. Instead you have Tobias Harris who requires 0 attention. A cheap PF (or Andre Drummond) would fill the void of Harris at PF. Embiid and Butler worked so well as teammates in 2019. When one had a bad game that is because the other had a great game.
I know Jimmy Butler would require a big contract like Tobias Harris. However, he is worth the 5 year $180 million dollar contract, that Tobias was given. Instead of paying James Harden this off-season, they could invest in role players and a deep bench. Instead, the 76ers will probably pay James Harden a stupid amount of money to not be the player he used to be.
Now look at coaching. The 76ers went with Brett Brown over Jimmy Butler. When we first traded for Jimmy, Brown used him just like we used Robert Covington...should have been a major red flag, but no we kept Brown over Butler. Where is Brett Brown coaching now? Look at the coaching carousel from that off-season... Monty Williams, Frank Vogel. JB BIckerstaff, and Taylor Jenkins. All of them are way better than Brett Brown and probably all better than Doc Rivers at the moment. Not only did we hurt our roster, but our head coach decision was an absolute disaster.
Jimmy Butler was right. We should never have picked Tobias Harris over him. We dug ourselves into a hole we can not get out of. We have dumb contracts that we can not get out of. We have a terrible coach, and made dumb decisions to try and fix the previous dumb decisions.
The 76ers should have gone all in on Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler. Imagine that lineup with the correct pieces? Both of them would need double teamed, and shooters on the outside would have made an unbelievable lineup. Maxey would have been the PG we needed to run the offense and on a rookie deal. Monty Williams would have been the coach that would take us to the promise land. We could dump Ben Simmons would some role players. All of sudden we are one of the top teams in the NBA.
The 76ers have a lot of work ahead of them to get out of this hole they put themselves in, in 2019. They need to figure out a plan for Tobias Harris' contract. They have Joel Embiid who is a top 5 player in the NBA and Maxey who will be an all star one day. They need to admit they made a mistake in Harris over Butler and try to win a championship sometime before Embiid gets mad and leaves.
Just imagine the 2022 Playoffs if we did it right.
Another 4-5 bench players with Tobias' contract, no James Harden contract, and players we got for Simmons
Head Coach: Monty Williams
There is no major trades that need to be done. We have the pieces to win. Embiid and Butler will require so much attention. Embiid needs to be triple teamed and he still scores 40+ points. Butler also needs a lot of attention when he drives. He is also incredible on defense and will cause opposing teams chaos there as well. Triple team Embiid, double Butler, no defenders on the shooters on the outside, this team can not be beaten. Do you get that with Tobias or Harden right now?
Who in the East is beating this team in a 7 game series? No one. With a balanced roster, competent coaching, and a better duo, we are winning the East no questions asked. In the end, Jimmy had every right to yell that after eliminating the 76ers in 6 games in Philly. They made the wrong choice. Not only did he eliminate them, but the franchise is in terrible place now.