THE OFF-SEASON: Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview
The Philadelphia 76ers had one of the most dramatic off-season’s in recent history and its not over yet. After a decisive second round playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the 76ers were left with many questions. Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview
What was the turning point in the game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks? Can Ben Simmons be the point guard on a Championship team? Where does Ben Simmons go during the 4th quarter?
Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid had some answers for the media and unfortunately for Ben Simmons he did not like what they had to say.
Embiid had this response after the loss, “I mean, I’ll be honest. I thought the turning point was when we — I don’t know how to say it — but I thought the turning point was just we had an open shot and we made one free throw and we missed the other and then they came down and scored.” Joel was referencing Simmons missing a free throw and then passing up an open jump shot in a later sequence.
Doc Rivers took over the driving seat on the Bus with this answer about Simmons ability to lead a championship team, “I don’t know the answer to that question right now.”
Overall it was a pretty rough night for Ben Simmons.
Simmons initially demanded an apology from his coach, but reassured the 76ers that he wanted to remain with the team. Shortly after he changed course and demanded a trade. We are now at the beginning of the season and he has yet to talk to a single teammate. His agent at Clutch Sports has stated that Ben will not be reporting to sixers facilities and he is willing to sit out the season. Simmons is essentially operating as if the Philadelphia 76ers franchise does not exist.
Sixers GM Daryl Morey is now tasked with the job of pretending he wants Ben Simmons while simultaneously trying to trade Ben Simmons . The mess all started with James Harden for Ben Simmons trade rumors at the beginning of the 20-21 season. At this point Simmons started to feel unwanted, which sowed the seeds for the end of the season explosion. Daryl is now attempting to get superstar trade value for a player who’s worth is perceived to be on the downside.
NEW ADDITIONS TO THE TEAM:
C Andre Drummond – Rim protector and rebounder
SF/PF Georges Niang – Floor spacer
PG/SG Jaden Springer – Rookie slasher and pot up shooter
SF Aaron Henry – Athletic with prototype forward build
PG/SG Grant Riller – Microwave scorer
DEPARTURES FROM THE TEAM:
PG George Hill
THE 76ERS CEILING:
The ceiling for this team depends on the what Daryl Morey can get in a Ben Simmons trade. If the sixers manage to get a player like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal then the ceiling is at least an NBA finals appearance.
If they net a player worse than Ben Simmons then the ceiling is fighting for the 5th or 6th seed in the Eastern Conference.
The health of Joel Embiid is a big factor every season. He has never played more than 64 games in a season.
My biggest concerns for this team is lack of depth and size at the power forward position. Rebounding will be a challenge for the sixers without Simmons. Philly is currently starting Tobias Harris as a stretch 4, with Georges Niang as the backup. Both men are under 6’8″ and lack the physicality to guard bigger Forwards. The sixers would have benefitted from picking up a PF that can rebound at a high clip and stretch the floor like Paul Millsap.
The PG position is a concern while Ben Simmons is out. Right now Shake Milton is the starter. Milton played well offensively last year, but was not on the floor late in games due to his subpar defense. Tyrese Maxey is leading the second unit and will push Milton for the starter spot. Maxey has strong scoring ability but lacks the playmaking touch to get others involved.
The final looming concern is what will they do with Ben Simmons? At this point the relationship is beyond saving. If Philly is unable to net a superstar player in return they risk taking a huge step backwards.
Joel Embiid wins MVP and DPOY
Embiid finished second last year in MVP voting to Nikola Jokic. The center will have to carry the offense and defense while Ben Simmons sits out.
Playing without Ben Simmons will truly show Embiid’s defensive value. In 34 games with out Ben Simmons the 76ers have a net defensive rating of 115.0. The sixers defensive net rating without Embiid on the floor is 111.0, Joel creates a higher defensive floor for the team.
If Embiid can stay healthy and can handle the added load offensively and defensively he could join Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan as the only players to win MVP and DPOY in the same season.
Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview
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