Philadelphia 76ers fans have been marinating in negativity since the team was stunningly bounced from the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks. But just two days after their unceremonious exit, GM Daryl Morey is fighting back against that negativity and taking a positive view of his team and where they are.
"A lot of what I'm reading I frankly don't understand," Morey said in his end-of-season news conference Tuesday via ESPN. "People [are] saying the Sixers are in a bad situation.
"I don't choose to come here, [coach Doc Rivers] doesn't choose to come here if this is a bad situation. I mean, really 25 or 26 teams in this league would love to be in our situation with an MVP-caliber top player and All-Star, near All-Star, great young players who are signed for the long term, good veterans.
"So, we've got a good foundation. We just have to do better, I have to do better, everyone has to do better."
Despite Morey's optimism about the team's future, two days hasn't been quite enough for him to get over such a difficult loss. Not only were the Sixers the No. 1 seed in the East, they had multiple chances to demoralize the Hawks and run away with the series. Instead, they blew a 26-point lead in Game 5 and couldn't close the deal in Game 7, losing 103-96 — tantalizingly close, but not enough.
"We need to be a better offensive team," Morey said via ESPN. "I mean we're two days after ... you can tell it's a little raw, still. I think if you replay that Game 7 a bunch of times and, you know, we execute better, then we win. But look, reality is reality. We didn't do it and, and frankly if we're squeaking by the second round that just tells me we're not, we're unfortunately not good enough, probably to win the title so we need to get better.
"But, you know, the game, that series, is still incredibly painful."
Morey laid out the honest truth: the Sixers' performance in the semifinals proved that they simply weren't good enough to win it all.
Morey won't discuss Simmons' future
Much of the Sixers fans' negativity has centered on Ben Simmons, and for good reason. His clear unwillingness to shoot the ball constantly hurt the team in the playoffs, especially in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
With Simmons' future on everyone's mind, Morey was asked "on several occasions" if he'd commit to having him on the roster next season, according to ESPN. Despite some fans' desire to load Simmons into a trebuchet and fling him into another state, Morey wouldn't say anything either way about Simmons' future with the team.
"We have a very strong group we believe in," Morey said via ESPN. "None of us can predict the future of what's going to happen in any, in any place. We love what Ben brings, we love what Joel [Embiid] brings, we love what Tobias [Harris] brings, in terms of what's next we're gonna do what's best for the 76ers to give us the best chance to win the championship with every single player on the roster."
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