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What a season for the Philadelphia 76ers. They led the eastern conference all season long, finishing first heading into the postseason. They had no problem passing the Washington Wizards in the first round, only to get out-worked by the Atlanta Hawks in the eastern conference semi-finals. It seemed like everything was working in their favor, then what happened? Yes, Joel Embiid tore his meniscus, but to me, he was still doing everything he had to, he was still the best player on the floor. But how about Philly's “number two player,” Ben Simmons? Where was he?
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I recently just watched a very confusing interview with 76ers president Daryl Morey, it was obvious to me that he was trying to reinstall value into the name Ben Simmons. He made sure to avoid any question or answer that could've led the viewers to believe Simmons can possibly be traded. As the interview continued, Morey was asked directly about the future of Simmons in Philly, and Morey was quick to answer with “Not addressing Ben Simmons,” but then continued to say, “Any move that will help our team win a championship or improve our odds, we will look at…” So, ultimately, is Morey open to trading Simmons? He did a great job of keeping the full room of reporters interested, wanting more. But, I have a feeling the Simmons Era with Philly is most likely dunzo!
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For four years we have been witnessing the same thing. Embiid and Simmons, sure they had winning records, sure they had a few playoff appearances, but what else can this duo produce? This duo hasn't made it out of the second round of the playoffs, but this season should've been different. I thought it would be. They were facing the fifth seed Hawks, which is great, but in my opinion, Philly is the better team. Philly rarely loses at home, and to see them drop ⅔ of their last home games, was definitely a shocker.
Photo From: The Sixer Sense
I wouldn't quite blame it on “the duo,” though, Joel Embiid was dominant as ever, EVEN WITH A TORN MENISCUS, he was averaging about 30 points and 13 rebounds. As for Simmons, it was almost like he was wasting that starting position, especially in the fourth quarter. As easy as that, he didn't show up. Phenomenal defense, top five in the league, it's the offense that brings him down. We have seen sparks of superstar potential in Simmons, setting up good plays, driving into the paint, creating noise around the rim, but that was all absent during the playoffs. I felt like he was playing scared. Playing timid. This horrendous postseason performance leaves Philly with one question, what is our next step?
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This relationship between Simmons and the Sixers isn't working, THEY NEED CHANGE. A year ago I would say you can argue why you should keep Simmons, but now? You just can't make that argument.
Photo From: The Spun
Simmons is a great player, who had a poor playoff performance, but it just isn't working. His perimeter defense is the best in the league, and he has amazing vision making it easy to set up beautiful players, but he can't shoot and in all honesty, it doesn't look like he's even trying to. We knew that though, Simmons can't shoot, so play YOUR game, drive-in, draw the foul, take it to the basket, DO YOU!
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Philly needs to trade him, there is a much better fit for Philly out there, as there is a much better fit for Simmons out there, Morey just needs to find it. Simmons is under contract through the year 2025, with a $30 million pay starting next season. But where would he go? Portland? Wizards? The only issue Morey is going to have is, Simmons' value had tremendously dropped, this trade would have been a whole lot easier to create in the last offseason. At this point, I don't think you're going to get another star for Simmons. Maybe throw in a young player such as Matisse Tybulle, and you can find somewhere.
Photo From: CBS Sports
The biggest issue with Simmons is shooting, you need to have a shot in today's game, it's the biggest part of being successful in the league. He doesn't have to have the best shot, just a shot, and what does he have? NO SHOT! He isn't even taking them to create that opportunity for him. He's scared to shoot, how are you going to create a team around that? That needs to change, no matter where he ends up, he needs to COMMIT TO HIS SHOTS. He is young, 24 years old, this is the time to make those adjustments. Don't feel comfortable with your shot? OKAY CHANGE IT!
Photo From: USA Today
Simmons had a chance to be something great, but not one ounce of me believes it is in Philly. They just didn't work. From Embiid calling him out for passing up a wide-open layup in their game 7 loss, and coach Doc Rivers not being able to support him being a championship point guard, Morey has witnessed enough to know, keeping Simmons is not a good idea. What do you think Philly should do? Where do you think Ben Simmons’s game could work? Is his shot the only thing holding him back?