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Charles Barkley’s Very Blunt Message For Sixers

Charles Barkley’s Very Blunt Message For Sixers

NBA Hall of Famer and current TNT broadcaster Charles Barkley offered a very blunt message to the Philadelphia 76ers this week. Or more specifically, the team’s two biggest stars: Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

That message? You’re officially out of excuses now that Doc Rivers is running the show.

“This is going to put a lot of pressure on Ben and Joel,” Barkley said.

“How many years have y’all been blaming everything on Brett Brown? For the last three or four years. Well, now Brett Brown is no longer here, Doc’s got a great pedigree, I like Doc a lot as a person, I think he’s a good coach, so now there are no more excuses for these people calling in and bashing on Brett Brown.

“It’s gonna be on, ‘Yo man, when are we gonna hold Ben and Joel accountable?'”

Brown spent a seven-year stretch with the 76ers during which he amassed a record of 221-344 and never made it past the second round of the Eastern Conference Finals.

This past week, the Sixers signed Rivers to a five-year deal in hopes that he will be able to take their team to the next level.

Rivers parted ways with the Los Angeles Clippers just days earlier after blowing a 3-1 lead in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs to the Denver Nuggets.

One of the main contributing factors to Rivers’ demise with LA were his shortcomings from an actual play calling and roster adjusting standpoint. The most notable recent example of that was when he opted to use Montrezl Harrell over fellow center Ivica Zubac against Denver despite the latter being a more efficient option.

The Clippers recorded a team-best 11.1 net rating when Zubac was paired with Leonard and George. With Harrell in Zubac’s place, the net rating was -30.1.

Even the players started questioning Rivers’ decision making at that point.

When Los Angeles lost to the Nuggets in the second round, Rivers became the only coach in NBA history to lose a 3-1 lead in three separate playoff instances. He did it once with the Clippers in 2015 against the Houston Rockets, as well as with the Orlando Magic against the Detroit Pistons in 2003.

That coupled with the Clippers’ locker room issues is what ultimately earned Rivers a one-way ticket out of town.

For the Sixers, this move is an attempt to bring in a coach with gravitas who they hope their stars will respect. Rivers’ shortcomings from an x’s and o’s standpoint are a matter of public record – clearly that isn’t a concern for Philly’s front office.

There is a lot on the line here for all parties involved.

If Rivers fails here, it will do severe damage to his legacy. The Clippers run already took some shine off his championship stint with the Boston Celtics, and a fruitless experience in Philly would be even worse.

For the Sixers as a unit, this is make it or break it time. If the team as presently constructed does not at least seriously contend for a title, it will be blown up. Either Simmons or Embiid will inevitably be traded.

How will this group handle the pressure? Time will tell.

Related: Texans Make Abrupt Coaching Change

Charles Kruger

Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7's go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.

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