Let us, for a moment, consider the donut burger. The ingredients that result in its existence are, without question, good. Hamburger patties, topped with cheese, bacon, pickles and whatever condiments you heart desires, bookended by two donuts. To bite into something like that should be the peak of human existence. And yet, something is missing.
Perhaps it’s the knowledge that you’re ingesting upwards of 1500 calories in one sitting. Perhaps the sweetness of the donut doesn’t match the greasiness of the traditional hamburger. Frustration mounts, and afterwards, you just feel awful.
The Philadelphia 76ers, replete with enticing ingredients, is that very donut burger. After being dispatched from the NBA playoffs in the second round for the second straight season, this time because of a shot from Kawhi Leonard that will be used in promos for the league for eternity, a team that went all in at the trade deadline sulked off the court, the pressure that came with the expectation of going all-in still weighing heavily on their shoulders.
This iteration of the 76ers, the one that added Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to a lineup that already boasted Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, was confounding. In 173 minutes together during the postseason, the 76ers starting lineup of Simmons, Harris, Butler, Redick and Embiid were a +24.9. That’s the best number of any starting five that’s played more than 50 minutes together this postseason, per NBA.com, dwarfing the likes of Golden State’s death lineup and the whirling dervish that made up the Denver Nuggets starting unit.