A loss like the Sixers’ 128-101 Game 2 dismantling at the hands of the Celtics brought out the vitriol in virtually every fan of the team. That includes one of the team’s greatest all-time players, Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.
In an interview Thursday afternoon with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic, the current TNT studio analyst voiced his displeasure with the team’s Game 2 effort.
“They quit last night. I was disgusted watching that game,” Barkley said. “Once that game started going (wrong), they’re like ‘Nah man, let’s get the hell out of this bubble, let’s go home.’ That was a disgrace.”
Looking to the future of the team, Barkley intimated that the players — specifically All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons — would benefit from a new voice on the bench.
“(Raptors president) Masai Ujiri is up there as one of the best general managers in the NBA. People got mad at him when he fired the Coach of the Year (Dwane Casey). And he won a championship. I’m not saying ‘Fire Brett Brown,’ but (Sixers GM) Elton (Brand) is going to have to sit down and have an honest conversation. Is this team good enough?”
While he never directly said over the course of the interview that Brown should lose his job, it’s clear Barkley believes a new voice may be necessary to take the Sixers, and their two biggest names, to the next level.
“I think Brett Brown is a nice guy and a good, solid coach. But I don’t think he’s been hard enough on either one of those guys,” Barkley said. “I don’t think he’s made Joel get in shape, and I don’t think he’s made Ben work on his game enough. You can’t tell me (Simmons) is better than he was 2-3 years ago.
“You’ve gotta hold these guys accountable! Brett Brown is too nice a guy. Both of those players need someone to put a foot up their (butt). ... They need a coach who’s going to kick their (butt), because they’re not working hard enough. Three years in, we’re still saying, ‘The dude won’t shoot the ball.’ And then, with Joel, we’re saying, ‘Is he ever gonna get in good enough shape?’ We shouldn’t be asking those questions after all these years.”