Buddy from Elf said it best:
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer,
Is to crush the Celtics for all to hear”
Merry Christmas, everyone! Welcome to a Christmas themed Sixers roundtable!
What would you like Santa to bring to the Sixers? If you could give one Christmas gift to any Sixers player, who would it be and what would be the gift? Do any Sixers player deserve a lump of coal this Christmas? If so, who and why?
If Saint Nick (not Nick Foles) visited the Sixers this Christmas, I would like Santa to bring elite rim protection to Jonah Bolden. The Sixers lack a true rim protector behind Joel Embiid. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest and most glaring needs on the Sixers at this current state. While I’m hoping Norvel Pelle will join the Sixers bench in January, granting Jonah Bolden elite rim protection would solve so many issues for the Sixers.
I would like to give a massive lump of coal to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). This condition has been a black plague to the Sixers and has caused me significant anxiety and depression over the past year and a half. If Markelle hadn’t developed TOS, the Sixers would be in a vastly different situation at this state.
“Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a liberty bell rings, a Sixer gets his wings.”There is no better feeling than watching Brett Brown during postgame give the nod to ring the bell.
I would like Santa (read: Elton Brand) to bring the Sixers some rotation depth this season, particularly at wing defense. Whether it comes in form of bringing up someone like Haywood Highsmith, signing or trading for someone that still has some defensive skills, or the miraculous returns of either Markelle Fultz or Zhaire Smith, wing defense is what this team needs to have at the top of its Christmas list.
If I could give any Sixer a gift, I would give Landry Shamet elite defensive skills. It would take him from a solid contributor to essentially a star (think Klay Thompson). Landry already is filling it up from “3.” If he can learn to fill it up on “D,” the Sixers have an elite crunch-time lineup that can hang with any team in the league.
The Front Office
No Sixers deserve a lump of coal this year. If anyone does, it’s the front office for their performance in the margins both this summer and the last few years. While Colangelo is gone, much of his decision-making team remains in place. Although it’s unclear how much say they had in final roster decisions, the Sixers are now feeling the effect of the “death by a thousand cuts” small-loss roster decisions made over the last few years.
In the big picture, the Sixers are fine and the front office is too – the Jimmy Butler trade was a huge win for the organization. However, it is frustrating to see a team that figured out the hard part (3 stars) struggle with the easy part (average NBA-level depth). There have definitely been some unexpected setbacks (deadly food allergies & whatever the hell is going on with Fultz) hampering the players this group has chosen to back, so I’m not willing to give them coal yet. But if another offseason goes by where a slightly-over-the-hill vet is the most notable signing (sorry Wilson Chandler), the front office will have some coal in their stocking next year for sure.
“And may all your Christmases be blue and red. Merry Christmas!”The NBA gods on scheduling the Sixers vs Celtics this Christmas
This year for Christmas, I hope Santa brings the Sixers some depth and the confidence to utilize Butler in pick and rolls. I’d like to give Ben Simmons the gift of a long range jumper, but I think that would be more of a gift to the rest of the team and Sixers fans than Ben himself. If anyone deserves coal this year, it’s the Colangelos for Burnergate/Collargate and for undoing all of Hinkie’s hard work. I’d also like to go on the record that I will happily accept a win over Boston on Christmas from my grown adult sons.
“Look, Ben, let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big Eastern Conference syndicate, you know.”Brett Brown’s quote to Ben Simmons after getting zero calls from the refs this season
Brett Brown’s quote to Ben Simmons after getting zero calls from the refs this season
If I could give this current Sixers team one (realistic) gift, it would be a legitimate scoring option off the bench – like a Lou Williams type – on an expiring contract or a team-friendly deal for an extra year or two. This team just needs some depth. I don’t have any way to prove this out, but I would be willing to bet the Sixers are top 3 in the league at surrendering 12-0 (or greater) runs to opposing teams this season. I know basketball is a game of runs, but it is infuriating when they go to the bench, and there isn’t anybody that can just get you a bucket when you really need one. Of course, losing Zhaire and Markelle was unforeseen, so if there was a way to give the Sixers this type of gift, that would be pretty cool.
No surprise here. A jump shot for Ben Simmons, and there isn’t any other gift remotely close to this for me.
I touched on this in my Annual Objectives piece this past summer:
“As I have previously tweeted, I think Ben’s ability to develop a jump shot is the most important thing in all of Philadelphia sports right now (not hyperbole). This is not to diminish the significance of Carson Wentz’ health (a close second). But, without a more dynamic Ben Simmons, the good teams will always be able to make adjustments that neutralize this Sixers team.”
It is nice to see Ben be more aggressive earlier in games, and he even took a few turn-around jumpers recently against Cleveland, which made me pretty happy. But, if he became more of a legitimate scoring threat (from more spots on the floor), it would open up the court for everyone – including himself. This team isn’t talented enough for him to defer as often as he does – and he is way too talented to defer as often as he does.
“You’ll shoot your eye out, Coward”Celtics fans talking to Ben Simmons
I would like Santa to work his magic and make Zhaire Smith, Justin Patton, and Markelle Fultz healthy. This team is lacking depth and all three of these players can make an immediate impact. There’s always the buy-out market and trades, of course. However, I think getting our young talent back will be better for the future of this franchise.
I would give a gift to T.J. McConnell. The gift would be a plush Gritty doll and a plush Scrappy Doo doll. The man is everything Philadelphia sports fans want. He may not be the greatest NBA player, and he may be getting more minutes than he deserves, but I want TJ on this team forever. His mindset, his work ethic, and his personality is something this team should always have.
No Sixers player deserves a lump of coal. They are all working hard and they are all getting along. I’d give coal to Bryan Colangelo and his wife, but as far as the players, coaches, and current front office staff, I’m happy with them. Trust the process.
“This is extremely important. Will you please tell Santa that instead of presents this year, I just want my family back. No toys. Nothing but Jimmy, TJ, Ben, Elton, Mike, and JJ. And my aunt and my cousins. And if he has time, my Uncle Wilson. Okay?”Joel Embiid is hoping for the entire family to join him this Christmas
Not only during this holiday season, but really for always, I wish peace of heart and mind for the fans of Philly sports. Love your teams for the countless joys that they bring you throughout the year, both great and small. When the disappointments happen, accept them for the fleeting moments of time that they are, breathe in deeply, and expel them from your body. They are not your burdens to carry, and they do not define you.
Your city is extremely lucky for having so many professional sports franchises. Two of them have won titles in the last ten years, which is extraordinary! Most of us use sports as an escape from our outside stressors, so it doesn’t make sense to let this escape add more stress.
Breathe deep, relax, and enjoy sport.