There’s trouble brewing in Philadelphia. “The Process” is coming to an end, and to be honest, it’s a little sad.
Ben Simmons is ready to leave Philly. He’s willing to take drastic measures and sit out the season if he can’t leave the Sixers. Sam Amick of The Athletic also mentioned that Simmons said he’s done playing with Joel Embiid.
What’s Next for Simmons and the Sixers?
The Sixers and Simmons’ relationship is beyond repair, and it is time for them to move on. A trade is inevitable, and if I were the Sixers, I’d do it sooner than later. But can they contend?
Regardless of his current stance, Simmons was a valuable contributor to the Sixers. They drafted him in 2016, and after missing his rookie year, he went on to average 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists in his career.
He averaged 14.3 points (his lowest), 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists. It wasn’t his best season but his performance and an MVP caliber season from center Joel Embiid helped the Sixers become the No.1 seed.
The Sixers playoff run ended when the Atlanta Hawks beat them in the second round. This is where the criticism of Simmons began.
Simmons averaged 9.9 points, 8.6 assists and 6.3 rebounds against the Hawks. In Game 7 of the series, he had five points and attempted only four shots. In four of the seven games of this series, Simmons didn’t score in double figures.
His highest was eight points, and his lowest was four. But despite his performance, he was still looked at as Philadelphia’s second option (behind Embiid). Now, the 76ers have to look elsewhere for another star.
Can the Sixers Contend?
The Eastern Conference is more competitive than past seasons. The Milwaukee Bucks are the defending champions, the Brooklyn Nets are out for revenge, and the Miami Heat are an improved team.
The New York Knicks and a familiar foe in the Atlanta Hawks are dark horse teams to keep an eye on. The Sixers (with or without Simmons) have their work cut out for them. Getting out of the East won’t be easy, and if they reach the Finals, the West is even tougher.
The Lakers added a slew of vets in hopes of a title run. The Phoenix Suns have a talented group itching to get back to the Finals.
The Clippers, Nuggets and Jazz are potential contenders. There are several (potential) obstacles the 76ers may encounter, and it will take another MVP season from Embiid to contend. But what about their second option?
While there have been talks of teams interested in Simmons but little info on players Philadelphia wants in return. Stephen A. Smith mentioned that the Nets would trade Kyrie Irving for Simmons if it wasn’t for Durant stepping in.
Otherwise, it’s been pretty quiet. Can the Sixers contend? It will be tougher than before, but with the right second option, it’s still possible.