This past Saturday evening, the Philadelphia 76ers finally ended a 26-game losing streak. By putting an end to this losing streak, which tied the longest in the history of professional sports, they were able to put a halt to all of the media embarrassment they’ve received the fast pew weeks, at least for the moment.
Even though the 26-game skid is behind them, the Sixers are not out of the woods yet. They are still continuing to make news for the wrong reasons.
Their most recent headlines were for the suspension of forward Arnett Moultrie. Moultrie was suspended by the NBA on Monday for a violation of the league’s drug policy and will be sidelined for five games without pay.
For a team that has had to deal with a ton of different issues this year, having one of its players suspended for drugs is a huge step in the wrong direction. Illegal substances such as marijuana have been a problem in the NBA for years, but for a player who is fighting for a roster spot to be suspended for drugs is unacceptable and embarrassing for the entire Sixers organization.
Moultrie played college ball at Mississippi State University and was selected late in the first round of the 2012 draft by the Miami Heat. Miami then traded him to the Sixers where he has spent his entire pro career thus far.
The potential has always been there for Moultrie, but he has found it very difficult to get on the court in recent years. He is coming off of left ankle surgery which has caused him to miss a majority of the season.
He has seen action in only 12 games this year for the Sixers, and the numbers he has produced have been subpar. While he played about 15 minutes per game, he only averaged 3 points, along with 2.9 rebounds and 0.3 blocked shots.
Despite his lackluster performance so far in the NBA, Moultrie does have talent. He is a good scorer with a plethora of offensive skills, and also has tremendous athleticism.
These are a few of the aspects as to why he was taken in the first round. With injuries plaguing his career thus far, it has been hard for him to work on his game and grow as a player.
Now that he has recovered from ankle surgery, the Sixers were allowing him to get more playing time as he was sent down to play for the Delaware 87ers in the NBA’s D-League. Even though his numbers still are not great, getting in to as many games as possible is what the Sixers want from Moultrie.
Even though they feel confident in Moultrie coming back and being a solid role player on the team, the question is where his head is at mentally. In order for a player to be suspended for violating the drug policy, it typically means they have been given at least one warning prior.
Due to the fact that Moultrie has flirted with the drug policy before, this suspension could possibly leave his future in Philadelphia in doubt. The Sixers need to ask themselves if they want to run the risk of sticking with a player who has shown he cannot follow the leagues rules.
With a team that is struggling as bad as the Sixers are, no roster spot is safe on their team. Kwame Brown, Eric Maynor, and Earl Clark are a few of the names that haven been waived this season.
These next few weeks for Moultrie are crucial. Following his suspension, he needs to accept his D-League assignment and prove he has what it takes to play again in the NBA.
If he can show he is the player the Sixers believed they traded for, then he should hopefully find himself still on their roster. If he does not and continues to find trouble, then the two-year player may be looking to play elsewhere.
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