There’s no way to wrap up a series sweep of the Sixers without one last referendum on The Process. It’s been rigorously debated for years and I think there’s finally a general consensus: it was sabotaged by Sam Hinkie’s forced removal. Some would say it was doomed from the start because putting your executives in a position to get fired is obviously going to get them fired.
I digress. It’s not his fault, but Brett Brown is going to lose his job over this. A series of desperate trades and poor asset management put him in an impossible situation.
Josh Richardson on Brett Brown: "He's a good guy, he's a good man. ... I don't think we had enough accountability this season and that was part of our problem."— Noah Levick (@NoahLevick) August 23, 2020
"Space became an issue," Brett Brown said at one point when asked about the whole season.— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) August 23, 2020
Meanwhile, former Sixers are thriving elsewhere. Trey Burke is getting buckets for the Mavericks. Robert Covington is a contributor on a contender with the Rockets. Dario Saric was a key component of the 8-0 Bubble Suns. Landry Shamet is still finding his way, but he’s put up some good games starting for the Clippers. JJ Redick shot 45.3% from deep on 6.6 attempts per game for the Pelicans this season.
The 76ers have sacrificed a lot of shooting in recent years in order to add bigger names to the roster regardless of their fit with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. A first round sweep to the Celtics is the result.
Oh, and they passed on Jayson Tatum in the 2017 Draft and gave the Celtics the Romeo Langford pick for the privilege.
Brett Brown says he “overestimated” Philly’s ability to guard Boston’s perimeter players.— Clevis Murray (@ClevisMurray) August 23, 2020
The 76ers front office is going to be dismantled. At least one of their expensive players is getting traded. There’s going to be a million YouTube documentaries laying out the whole timeline, from asset hoarding to superfluous spending. Good night, sweet Process.
Kemba Walker: “I don’t know if it’s much to celebrate, honestly. We didn’t do much yet.”— Jay King (@ByJayKing) August 23, 2020
For Boston, they barely reacted to the sweep of their rivals.
Kemba Walker was forged in the fires of the 7-59 Charlotte Bobcats. He’s been through too much in the NBA to get carried away with one playoff series win. It’s been said a million times, but Kemba’s mentality made a world of difference to this team.
One of my greatest complaints in recent years is how Boston is prone to getting too relaxed with a lead and playing down to their competition. They still need to work on it, but the overall effort is clearly more consistent when Kemba is playing. Between Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Walker, the Celtics have three guys who will actively look to create a shot for themselves when they’ve got the hot hand.
The only other player in recent memory to do this was Isaiah Thomas. And even then, Brad Stevens was slow to put him back in the game when the Celtics desperately needed him.
Perhaps the most important skill that Walker brings is drawing fouls. Boston’s offense sputtered early, but they managed to even out the free throw disparity in the second quarter. By the end of the night, Walker’s thirteen free throws were a clear indication that this trip to the bubble was a business trip for him and the Celtics and he would do anything to leave with the Larry O’Brien. “I’m a winner,” Walker said after scoring 24 points in Game 3. “I want to play at the highest level, and I’m able to do that now.”