The 76ers have a problem that might only be solved by trading Ben Simmons.
There’s no getting around the fact that the 76ers’ Big Three, with Ben Simmons as a focal point, doesn’t quite fit.
Oh sure, there are some positives. In a short 18 game sample size of minutes played together, the team’s record is 13-5. And according to Basketball Reference, the team’s starting five has the second best net rating of any unit in the league.
Philadelphia fans can also point to Simmons’ young age and hopefulness that he will develop an outside shot. But what is that hope really based off of?
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Simmons was an exceptional passer since his college days and has proven to be adept at playing defense and rebounding.
But is Simmons truly willing to work on the big glaring hole that everyone around the league is aware of ?
It doesn’t appear so because the ability to make jump shots is a craft that must form during the offseason.
It’s fair to wonder just what Simmons was working on this past summer, besides not developing a mid-range game.
Of course, we knew all of this when Elton Brand made the trade for Jimmy Butler. It was a trade to not only help instill more toughness with the younger players but to bring in another shot creator? A dominant force to make plays from the wing position…who could actually make buckets.
But smarter teams have been shifting their defense to double up on Butler and Embiid leaving Simmons wide open, almost daring him to shoot the ball.
The past has not taught us that uneven parts can work.
Sure, it’s fair to be unsure of making a trade with such a small sample size of games played. Critics could use the Miami Heat as an example of a championship team with mismatched parts.
Everyone was so sure that those players wouldn’t be able to mesh their games together. But if you looked closely, that team had everything they needed to succeed.
They had an attacking wing in Lebron James who could get to the rim at will. They had a guard in Dwayne Wade who had arguably the best mid-range game in the league. And they had the second-best pure shooting power forward of? Chris Bosh.
Those aforementioned players sacrificed parts of their game in order to achieve ultimate success.
Butler was brought in to make buckets. Embiid might be the best low post player in the league.
In order for this “process” to work, you need to surround them with more capable shooters. And not just a young kid who averages almost a triple double on the cusp of making an All Star appearance.
If the 76ers are honest with themselves, they’ll realize that this version of the Big Three won’t work.
And they’ll trade him in the future for prospects that can help this team win a championship now rather than hope for it later.
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