The Philadelphia 76ers are heading into the All-Star break in a state of disarray.
The 76ers have lost three consecutive games, and it will be four straight if they lose to the Milwaukee Bucks tonight, the team with the best record in the league, on their home court. The Sixers are tied with the Indiana Pacers for fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 31-20 record, and run the risk of playing a majority and more importantly, the most pivotal games in the playoffs on the road where they are currently 9-18.
76ers general manager Elton Brand did what he could prior to the trade deadline, addressing the team's need for more shooters by acquiring Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks from the Golden State Warriors. At a certain point, however, something must be done internally, and Ben Simmons discussed a toughness issue that he saw play out during their 137-106 loss to the Miami Heat Monday.
"We were soft," Simmons said. "Soft is don't get bullied, fight over screens, get through screens. You've gotta knock somebody, knock 'em over. You've gotta hit somebody in the face and knock 'em down, make sure they don't score, hit 'em in the face."
On NBA on TNT pregame show, Charles Barkley reiterated that same criticism towards his former team, which he admits to picking to make it to the NBA Finals out of the East, but he injected some additional biting commentary, along with a comparison that will certainly upset some Sixers fans.
"I think they are the softest, mentally weakest team that had a bunch of talent. They are the Cleveland Browns of the NBA," Barkley said. "They got a lot of talent, and they talk the talk, and that’s it. Last summer, and I feel for it, one of our bosses he had me on the Cleveland Browns bandwagon, cause they came out telling everyone how good they were going to be, and then they got punched in the mouth in Game 1 and punched the rest of the season."