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Sixers Postseason Stock Watch

I polled Sixers Twitter about Sixers things. Here’s some analysis.

NBA: Playoffs-Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2018-19 Philadelphia 76ers season over, I thought it would be a good time to take stock of where Sixers fans currently stand on a variety of questions. So I did the most scientifically accurate and bias-free thing possible: I asked Twitter some poll questions, and now I’m going to analyze what those poll results mean.

Let’s get started.

66 percent of y’all feel better about Joel Embiid now than you did before the season, and only 8 percent feel worse about him.

I imagine that 8 percent of respondents are the kinds of people who roll up their sleeves and say, “I can’t believe how soft these players are these days” in regards to players resting or players being on minutes limits, because that’s really the only group I can imagine that watched the Sixers this year and emerged on the other side of the season with a negative view of Joel Embiid.

When he was on the floor and healthy — and the keyword is healthy, because he was clearly not healthy against Toronto — Embiid was a machine and in a two-person race for league’s best center with Nikola Jokic. Yes, Embiid has work to do with his shooting outside of the paint, and yes, his pump fake 3 is one of the silliest looking plays in basketball, but Embiid is a great interior player and arguably the league’s best rim protector, because we don’t count Rudy Gobert around these parts.

Analysis: I agree with the majority.

A little closer here between better and the same, but it’s good to see that people don’t think Simmons has regressed just because he’s not yet shooting the 3-ball.

Simmons improved in a lot of other areas. His true shooting percentage was up. His free throw percentage was up. His rebounding rate was slightly up. He showed that he could reliably defend the pick-and-roll.

Yes, Simmons’ isn’t fully where he needs to be yet, but he took positive steps during the season.

Analysis: I agree with the majority.

So, the Jimmy Butler trade seems to have gone over well!

Look, I was among the people who were happy, but also worried about losing Robert Covington and Dario Saric for a potential rental, when this deal went down. I was wrong.

I spent a long time wondering if the Sixers should consider dealing Butler at the deadline, or if they were just going to be better off letting him walk at the end of the year. About this, I was also wrong.

Keeping Butler, who has the ability to just completely take over games and raise his level of play at the right moment, is the most important part of this offseason. If he sticks around, Philly very clearly won this trade.

Analysis: I agree with the majority.

OH HERE WE GO, WE HAVE DRAMA.

Only 10 percent of poll respondents said that they were feeling better about the Tobias Harris trade after this playoff run than they felt when it happened. 34 percent felt the same, but a whopping 56 percent of people felt worse about that deal than they did when it happened.

Should they, though? Sure, Harris wasn’t that impressive in the playoffs, but his overall contributions were about what I expected them to be once he arrived in Philly, aside from a dip in his 3-point shooting percentage.

I think I’m in the “feel the same” camp. The trade was an overpay for a guy to be your fourth-best player and, well...he’s your fourth-best player. Giving up Landry Shamet hurt, but this is a team in win-now mode that made a win-now move. While I don’t think I feel better about the move after these playoffs, I don’t feel like the trade was some egregious mistake. It is what it is, and in the words of Coach Steve’s hormone monster in Big Mouth, “what’re ya gonna do???”

Analysis: I don’t agree with the majority.

Brett Brown not getting fired was a good silver lining to the playoff loss, because there were a lot of concerns that the team would move on from him. It turns out those were (probably) unfounded.

The biggest knock on Brown has been his rotations, but how much of that can you really blame on him? Yeah, the Sixers never figured out the backup center spot in the playoffs, but they were working with the combination of Boban Marjanovic, Greg Monroe, and Jonah Bolden. Brett Brown doesn’t deserve the blame there.

What Brown did right was figure out how to best utilize Jimmy Butler, specifically in his use of Point Jimmy. Using Butler as the primary ball-handler when Simmons sat allowed the Sixers to not play T.J. McConnell in the postseason, and not having to play T.J. McConnell was a win for the team. Credit to Brett for that decision.

And credit to Brett for even getting a team that was built on the fly and didn’t have a working bench to Game 7 against a good Raptors team.

Analysis: I agree with the majority.

Yeah, this core got to Game 7 against the Raptors. Give them a year to gel, give them a couple of bench pieces, and it’s not a stretch to think they can be a top-two regular season team in the East next year with Milwaukee. I don’t even really have more analysis for this one; the Sixers clearly feel closer to winning a title than before, and I don’t know what 5 percent of people were thinking. Maybe they were trolling? Maybe they were Raptors fans?

Analysis: I agree with the majority.

This was by far the closest of the results and for good reason. Can this current front office make the necessary moves to actually get this team the bench they need to compete for a title?

If we count both the “Brett was the interim GM” and the “Elton Brown is the GM” eras, here are some of the moves the Sixers have made:

  • Drafted Mikal Bridges, then traded him for Zhaire Smith and a first-round pick
  • Drafted Ray Spalding and Kostas Antetokounmpo, then traded them for Shake Milton
  • Drafted Landry Shamet
  • Traded for Wilson Chandler
  • Traded TLC and Justin Anderson for Mike Muscala
  • Traded Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and a second-round pick for Jimmy Butler
  • Traded Wilson Chandler, Landry Shamet, Mike Muscala, two firsts, and two seconds for Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and Mike Scott.
  • Traded Markelle Fultz for Jonathon Simmons and picks
  • Traded a second-round pick for James Ennis

One year isn’t enough to really judge a front office, but my initial take is that this team does struggle to add talent around the margins. We haven’t seen an Elton Brand offseason yet, so it’s highly possible that he can come out, make some really good moves with the limited space the team has available, and things will be good.

They could also just re-sign Jonathon Simmons or something. Who knows!

Analysis: I am also not sure.

Y’all, this season was a success, even if it ended in a loss in the conference semifinals. After missing out on big free agents, the Sixers managed to make moves during the season that gave them a legitimately strong core. Barring a disastrous free agency period, this is a contending team for the length of Jimmy Butler’s future deal, and then, even if Butler moves on after that, one that still has Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. This team is definitely moving in the right direction.

Analysis: I agree with the majority.