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Jon Marks, 94WIP Host

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May 16, 2023 9:10 pm

Jon Marks, 94WIP Host

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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May 16, 2023 9:10 pm

Jon Marks joined Zach to discuss if the Sixers should trade Joel Embiid and who Philly should hire to be their next head coach. 

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JR Sport Brief

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$10 minimum per order. Additional terms apply. Johnny Marks, what's happening? Doc Rivers out. We talked a couple weeks ago, kind of previewing the Celtics series, and it kind of, I mean, it actually played out a lot differently than I thought, but the end result wasn't any different, I suppose. Yeah, it was actually weird. I thought that the Sixers were going to lose this series probably in six games, and then when they took that 3-2 lead, Johnny Marks, I'm like, uh-oh, maybe this is their year that they actually get over the hump, and unfortunately for you, we know that wasn't the case. Yeah, game six, and obviously we'll talk about some of game seven and just the utter collapse that happened in the second half, but the real opportunity to win, they had a lead in the fourth quarter at home against the Celtics, and they missed ten straight shots midway to late in the fourth quarter, and Tatum started hitting shots. Remember, Tatum went into the fourth quarter with three points, right?

Yeah, it was terrible. Right, so the missed opportunity of not capitalizing on Tatum having a horrific game and having a fourth quarter lead and being at home and allowing the Celtics to remain alive for Tatum to get hot late, which he did, ultimately that's the biggest spot in the series. Now you had a chance to come back game seven. The first half, they kept it close, and they even had a lead at one point, a nine-point lead at one point, but we know what happened in the second half. Yeah, the no-show in the final four or five minutes of game six is what really ended this series, because heading into game seven, at first I thought the Sixers were going to have a shot because that series is just so bizarre, but when Vegas put out the spread of Celtics as a seven-and-a-half-point favorite, I go, okay, they're begging you to plus the points with the Sixers, and that was Vegas telling you the Celtics were going to blow them out. Yeah, and in game five in Boston, there was also a big line. I don't remember if it closed at seven or seven-and-a-half, so you still, and they won the game outright, so you still have that carrot dangling in front of you of, like, they just went up in Boston. The pressure's now on Boston in game seven.

Who says that they can't do it again? And unfortunately, Zach, when your two stars, when the reigning MVP or the newly crowned MVP of the league and a top 75 player of all time in James Harden don't show up for game seven and they quit in the second half after they go down big-time points, right? Like, losing game six was a gut punch and it hurt, but what happened in game seven is unacceptable, and now you're faced with James Harden coming back, and what's going to happen with Joel Embiid and everything else? Well, we'll get to all that in just a second, but the Embiid part of it, for so many years, Embiid would get a pass for some poor playoff performances just because of the construction of the roster and the poor construction. I'm not saying this roster was the greatest thing in the world, but it feels like, at least from afar, with how he didn't show up at the end of game six, and then game seven was a complete no-show, that this was the first time in one of these series that didn't go the Sixers' way, where Embiid got dragged through the mud and deservedly so. Was that the same way locally in Philadelphia, where this was the first time Embiid faced a lot of serious criticism? Last year, after they lost game six, well, actually, you know what, last year, I was one of the rare ones that was so angry at Embiid, because after the game, where he didn't play well in game six and losing to Miami, he was fawning over Jimmy Butler and he said, oh, I thought we were getting Houston hardened, but, oh, you know, that's okay.

He's not the player. You know, I was disgusted with the way that he came out. If you watch that game from the beginning, he came out with no urgency. He came out looking like he was in some kind of a malaise, and it's like, hold on a second. This is game seven.

You're on the road. You were just saying a couple days ago, this is the games you dream about playing, and you come out with no sense of urgency, and he looked bad from the beginning. And then what happened in the second half where they just started getting crushed, Boston went on a 33 to five run after the game was tied. Tobias Harris hit a three, tied the game up, and then Boston went on a 33 to five run, and it was over, and they quit, and it looked like they quit. But then after the game, he does the whole thing again where he blames other people, and he says that James and I can't do it alone, and just this whole attitude, and he made a joke about Giannis.

This is the one that annoyed me the most, Sean. When you listen to the entire thing with the Harden thing, it didn't really bug me. You probably didn't need to go there, but the Giannis part, that was him B trolling, and he was laughing, and he couldn't even keep a straight face. I thought that was the worst look for him after the game.

No, it was, and you're right. If you listen to the whole context of what he was saying about Harden, it's not as bad as if you just take the shortcut. But his entire attitude when he was up there, and I'll just be totally honest, it didn't seem like he was all that bothered by it. It didn't seem like that he just lost a game seven where this was a legacy game. Look at Jason Tatum. Jason Tatum set a record for game seven points, right? Jason Tatum just elevated his stature and himself in the NBA. Meanwhile, James Harden and Joel Embiid look like chokers again, and Embiid was up there telling jokes, trolling Giannis, smiling, and saying more or less like, I already won my MVP.

I won the trophy. He didn't seem all that bothered by it. Meanwhile, when you have 76ers fans that have now seen this year after year after year after year where you get to a certain point and you can't get past it, man, it was just a really bad look. The other thing too is, I remember a few years ago, I think it was on Mother's Day too, John Marks, when they lost to the Raptors, that crazy Kawhi Leonard shot you saw Embiid crying and the emotion of it.

It seems like that Embiid is long gone where you don't see those emotions from him anymore. Yeah, and you had Father's Day. They're covering all the holidays, the 76ers here. Father's Day was the Trae Young, Ben Simmons wouldn't shoot the ball. Game seven, another game seven at home that Doc blew and that team blew. And while Ben Simmons got pointed, he got the finger pointed at him for that game and rightfully so. Joel Embiid was bad. He had a lot of turnovers. And he, again, in a big spot, in a big game, being the type of player that he is, he came up small.

I don't know. I don't know about Joel Embiid right now. I feel like that he is the city turning on him from being out of here. Because if everybody continues to love Embiid and he's so talented and he's the MVP and everything else, he'll be fine. But the minute the city turns on him and the team turns on him a little bit, he'll ask to be traded. At least that's my prediction. And I don't think that's actually the worst thing in the world for the Sixers because as crazy as this is, the guy just won the MVP, probably only has a championship window in Philly for two to three more seasons.

And they have wasted that window already. I have zero confidence in Daryl Morey to get this thing right. I've been saying it for years that I believe Daryl Morey is one of the more overrated executives in all of sports. So if you're not going to win with Embiid, you would get a great return for him right now. It would almost be better if he did request a trade. Well, you're kind of stuck because Embiid is, there's no denying how talented Joel Embiid is. And you're waiting for him for the light to kind of click, boom, like, oh, this is what I need to do. And he did make a lot of strides this year with maturity and being more of a professional.

But then when push comes to shove again in the biggest spots in the playoffs, he comes up small. But I'm not at a point right now where I'm looking to trade him. I'm wondering if I'm ever going to win with him. But I got to try again because, like you said, that two to three year window is still there.

The problem, Zach, is you're kind of stuck. You have Maxie. Are you going to trade Maxie to try to get somebody else in there?

You have maybe you have Harden. He has a player option. He can opt out. He can resign long term with the Sixers, which I don't want. He could go to Houston or another team.

You have to buy his Harris, who is an expiring contract, which may have some value. So if you're the Sixers, what can you really do to get yourself to where you feel like you're a championship team or a championship caliber team? They were close this year, but it's tough to get over that hump. They haven't been out of the second round.

So I'm not sure what they do. My guess would be that they try to improve the team through the Tobias, Tobias Harris expiring contract. And if Harden comes back, that's kind of what the team looks like with the new coach. And, you know, Maury is going to do everything in his power to bring back James Harden. It would be stupid.

But then once again, what else are you going to do? Because I don't think Dame Lillard is going to wind up in Philadelphia, even though in theory that would be great. Yeah, I don't think so either. And I would I would rather not have James Harden than have James Harden. I would rather have nothing in return other than now you have to try to fill his spot. And James Harden led the league in assists. It's not like he wasn't productive during the regular season. I mean, I just had it with him. He's not a winning player.

Last time we talked, we both agreed that he wasn't good enough. And meanwhile, he scored 40, 40 some points in two games. And actually, the Sixers might have lost in five if James Harden's not on the team. It's not like that he didn't have good games.

But again, it continues to follow him wherever he goes. You play like that in decisive games and elimination games. I don't want you. The last two, so last year they lost to Miami in game six. That was an elimination game. They lost to Miami in game six. This year, losing in game seven to Boston. He took a total of five shots in the second half of both of those games and made one shot, a three pointer. It was one from five in two second half elimination games in the playoffs. I don't need to know any other stat.

I don't need to watch games. I don't need to pretend James Harden's this player that can actually have an impact. When you take five shots and you're a top 75 player of all time, you take five shots in an elimination game, two second halves, and score three points, out.

I want you out. And Joel Embiid's not that far behind. I'm doing one more shot with Joel Embiid.

If it doesn't work, then you're going to have to move on. And here's the scary part, too. I think Daryl Morey is dumb enough to do this. It would not surprise me if Harden's back with Mike D'Antoni as the coach. I'd be surprised if Harden wasn't back at this point. They've been using Houston as leverage really since Christmas Day was when the first report came out that said that Harden would go back to Houston and they have all this cap room. So I think it's leverage against the Sixers. Like, hey, if you think you're going to do a two or three year contract extension, I have a max deal in Houston and I'll go there. And I believe Harden would go there, too. It's such a loser move. And if Mike D'Antoni is the head coach of the 76ers three days from now, would I be surprised?

No, I wouldn't. He's got P.J. Tucker there. He's recreating the Rockets.

Unfortunately, that's from five years ago. No, I mean, honestly, bro, this is a disaster. For having the MVP of the league and just being game six with a chance to go to the Eastern Conference Finals at home, this has turned from a great story into a total disaster in the course of a week. Where does Doc Rivers, he gets fired today, no one should be surprised by that. But where does he fall in the pecking order of blame when you look back at this series? Very little blame. People are actually, because Doc doesn't have a lot of fans in Philly, just because of the way that he kind of treated the fans and he was very condescending and he was argumentative early in his tenure here.

I think he did a good job this year. He got let go and that's perfectly fine. But there were a lot of fans today that were mad that he was scapegoated almost. That's what it felt like, was like, all right, well, Doc was scapegoated. James Harden, after the loss, was asked a question about his relationship with Doc and he said, OK. And it was like, oh, Doc's getting fired. And it shows you Doc's getting fired or Doc got fired.

And now James Harden has some power in this organization. Which is crazy. Which is crazy. And to your point, it tells me that he is coming back and he's probably coming back long term. Wow.

How about that? You're not wrong. I agree with you.

We were just talking about before you jumped on board. But it is such a joke. And that's the guy that needs to start getting criticism is Daryl Morey, because he celebrated losing to the Warriors when he was with the Rockets. And he's basically doing the same damn thing over again.

And everyone loves this guy. He's making 12 million dollars a year, I think, as well. Is Josh Harris stupid?

I'll just ask you that. That guy has all the money in the world, owns all these sports teams. How stupid is he to still employ Daryl Morey? I don't think he's paying attention and knows any better. And what he really needs, what they really need is somebody that's kind of at the ownership level that is paying attention from day to day. When you're not running the team on a day to day basis, you're really paying attention. Here's what the owner of the Sixers, Joshua Harris, knows.

This place is always sold out. He's making a lot of money. And they were just, again, relevant in the playoff picture. But to your point, he's on the clock. Daryl Morey's now on the clock. He's going to figure this out because this very easily could blow up in his face in a year or two. Last thing I'll ask you, you play the role of Jay Wright. If I'm Daryl Morey and I call you, hey, I want to offer you the Sixers coaching job, how do you think Jay Wright handles that? So I think there's a chance, just because Jay, and I've spoken to him and I'm sure you have as well, Zach, many times where he's talked about like, hey, it was tempting when NBA teams approached me. It's tempting not to think about being an NBA coach. The fact that he's retired from Villanova and he's not leaving Villanova to take a pro job, he's already retired. So he's already removed from being the Villanova coach. He's been gone for a year, right? I think it makes it easier for him to go into the NBA if it's something that he wants to do. The question that I have is, is Jay Wright going to take the shot, the one shot he probably is going to take, with Joel Embiid and James Harden and the rest of this roster?

I don't know. I think there's one place he would be an NBA coach, I think it's Philly, and I don't know if he's going to be willing to do it with this mess. You pay him $15 million a year, he may change his mind, or he may say yes, by the way.

Yeah, that's also true. Johnny March, you can listen to him weekdays on Sports Radio 94 WIP and also right here on CBS Sports Radio, Sundays 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Eastern. John, always great to catch up with you. Thank you. Great stuff, man.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-16 22:39:29 / 2023-05-16 22:46:49 / 7

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