This is the first of many weekly 76ers mailbags.
Each week, Inquirer.com followers can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Mailbag series.
Missed out on the party this week? No worries — you can submit your question(s) for next time by following me on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers and submitting questions to me followed by #PompeysMailbagFlow.
Let's jump right into this week's questions:
Question: How much more times does Brett Brown have, is he on the hot seat? — @sportsfan7613
Answer: Let’s get straight to the point. When hasn’t Brett Brown been on the hot seat in recent seasons? The perception that he’s been about to lose his job as coach has been an annual thing over that time. However, I do believe that he’ll be the scapegoat if the Sixers don’t reach the Eastern Conference Finals or even perhaps the NBA Finals.
This team has a perennial All-Star starter in Joel Embiid. Tobias Harris is making $180 million and playing at a high level. Ben Simmons is about to make $171 million and has a great chance of obtaining his second straight All-Star selection. The Sixers acquired Al Horford and Josh Richardson in July. Even though the pieces don’t quite seem to fit, Brown has the tough task of somehow trying to make it work.
Again, it’s not his fault that the pieces don’t fit. But as the coach, he will get the blame for this team not living up to the preseason hype with another second-round playoff exit. I don’t think the Sixers would make a decision on him in-season, though.
Question: Will the Sixers make moves or stay put at the deadline? — @SixxersReport
Answer: The Sixers not making a move at the NBA trade deadline would be the biggest shocker of the season. Now, they’ll have to be patient to make sure they get the right person and don’t eliminate themselves from a solid piece in the buyout market. But I expect them to make a move before the Feb. 6 trade deadline or in the following buyout market. They must. The Sixers won’t win an NBA title the way this roster is currently constructed, especially with injuries to two key starters Embiid (left hand) and Richardson (left hamstring).
So they definitely need to make a move to upgrade the roster and bring in more shooters/perimeter help. So I’m saying yes they will make a move.
Question: With what record do you think the Sixers will finish over their next nine games (tough matchups), especially with Richardson and Embiid both out? — @Sledge37hammeR
Answer: So I see that you are going to put me on the spot. OK, player. Let’s see, I have the Sixers going 4-5 over the next nine games heading into the All-Star break, assuming Embiid and Richardson both remain sidelined during this stretch.
I think they’re going to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday at Wells Fargo Center before beating the Golden State Warriors (Tuesday, home) and Atlanta Hawks (Thursday, away). I see them losing to the Boston Celtics (Feb. 1, away), the Miami Heat (Feb. 3, away) and Milwaukee Bucks (Feb. 6, away). Then I have them beating the Memphis Grizzlies (Feb. 7, home) and Chicago Bulls (Feb. 9, home) before losing to the Los Angeles Clippers (Feb. 11, home). Now, I’m basing my predictions off the Sixers’ current roster with Embiid and Richardson both remaining sidelined.
Question: It’s not the talent that is the problem, it is the lack of leadership and toughness at the end. Should they trade for Derrick Rose and Marcus Morris? — @johnquinn83
Answer: Both players are intriguing options. Let me start first with Marcus Morris, who I believe would be a great addition for the Sixers. I personally think he could be a missing piece for them. Morris would provide toughness and three-point shooting. He would help with the spacing as a power forward. And since he’s from North Philly, he would be adored in Philly for playing for his hometown team. I’m just not sure if Brown could deal with his ‘Keep-It-Real’ personality. Morris tells it like it is, good or bad. I’m not sure if that would work with this team.
Meanwhile, I think the Sixers would be better off getting a shooter instead of a scorer like Rose.
You can’t have enough shooters. Plus, the Sixers already have a Rose-type in Trey Burke. You can argue that Burke isn’t on Rose’s level, but they have similar skills. That doesn’t mean the Sixers still can’t add a shot creator after the trade deadline. Don’t forget free agent Jamal Crawford is still available and a better shooter than Rose. But I would go after a shooter via a trade.
Answer: That’s a tough question to answer, especially considering what the Sixers gave up to acquire him in the 2018 draft. It’s hard to forget that Sixers selected Villanova and Great Valley High School product Mikal Bridges with the No. 10 pick in that draft.
But less than an hour later, the Sixers traded him to the Phoenix Suns for their 16th overall pick, Smith, who played power forward at Texas Tech. The Sixers also received the Miami Heat’s first-round pick in 2021. The Sixers really liked Smith, just not at the 10th pick. The converted shooting guard missed most of the last season due to an injury and a side effect to food poisoning. This season, he’s been basically relegated to the NBA G-League.