The Philadelphia 76ers are due for a makeover. After Philly’s first-round defeat at the hands of the Boston Celtics, it’s time that Philadelphia makes some changes to their roster.
The organization wasted no time by firing former head coach Brett Brown. He was going to be the first to go and the one to take a majority of the blame. It’s unfortunate because Brown isn’t a bad NBA coach, he was just given a dysfunctional team to coach and was asked to lead this team to a championship. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and now Brown is out of a job.
This all started when the 76ers decided to hand out max contracts to Tobias Harris and Al Horford. I understand the willingness to give Harris a max contract more than I understand why they gave Horford a max contract. They simply did it to steal him away from Boston and take away their “Embiid stopper.” Giving a max contract to a 33-year-old post-dominant center did nothing but backfire on them.
So what do the 76ers do moving forward? Does the organization give the Simmons/Embiid duo one last shot and try to complement them with better players? Or do they trade one of the two and try to get a handful of players to surround the remaining player with? According to Elton Brand, they’re going to roll with the first option.
Elton Brand: "I'm not looking to trade Ben or Joel. I'm looking to complement them better."
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) August 25, 2020
I’d like to say that it will be difficult for the 76ers to complement both Simmons and Embiid when you have the contracts that you do on your roster. Who will take Horford or Harris’s contracts off their hands? Both players are under contract until at least 2022-23, and both players are still owed a ton of money. If they were to trade them, they’d most likely have to take back another big contract or two, accept late draft picks, or attach first-round picks to ship them off.
In my opinion, the 76ers should trade Joel Embiid. Embiid is one of the best, if not the best, centers in the NBA. But it’s difficult to build around a player like him. The NBA has moved on from post-dominant centers like Embiid. Teams focus more on small-ball lineups with big men that can push the ball up the court and spread the floor. He would’ve been even more dominant in the early 2000s, but unfortunately for Embiid, it’s 2020.
Ben Simmons is one of the most ideal players to build around in today’s NBA. Yes, I know he doesn’t have a jumpshot. Yes, I know he can’t shoot a three-pointer to save his life, and God knows when he’ll be able to. But you know what he does? Just about everything else. Even without a jumpshot, he can give you close to 20 points a night. He’s one of the best playmakers in the league and can give you a triple-double on a nightly basis. He’s a top-tier defender and is perfect for small-ball lineups because of his height. He’d be a top-10 player if he had a jumpshot. This is the man the 76ers should be building around.
If the 76ers surround Simmons with three-point specialists, big men that are quick and can spread the floor, and multiple defenders, they can be pretty successful, in my opinion. Simmons and Embiid’s styles of play don’t compliment each other, and I think the ship has sailed as far as winning together goes. I cannot see either Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid winning anything together on the same team.
Trading away Embiid wouldn’t be at the top of my offseason to-do list, though. I’d still try and get rid of the horrendous contracts on the roster and surround Embiid and Simmons with better talent. If that doesn’t work, or it does work, but the partnership still doesn’t work next season, then you look to get rid of Embiid. The front office doesn’t want to make another mistake by prematurely trading away a superstar for scraps and non-superstars. Trading away Embiid or Simmons is a last-case scenario type of deal. But I believe it will need to happen eventually.
What do you think the 76ers should do with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid? Would you trade one or the other, or give this team another shot next season? Philadelphia has a lot of work to do this offseason. If you’re a Philly fan, I wouldn’t get too comfortable with the roster you have now.
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-Dante Turo (@DanteOnDeck)
Photo: USA Today Images