When the Sixers struggle it is usually when missing everyone’s favorite big man, Joel Embiid. Coming off a loss to the Grizzlies Saturday night, looking at the improvements the squad has made you can see there are real concerns.
So far in this short season, the 76ers are 0-3 without Embiid. They are also 2-4 in six games without Seth Curry. Tobias Harris is averaging 19.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 11 games in the 2020-21 NBA season.
My question is, Where is Simmons? Ben Simmons is averaging 12.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 8.0 assists in 12 games in the 2020-21 NBA season. This is not to blast Ben but to ask when will he reach this “Superstar” status that he has been crowned. When will Simmons play at this status and at the same time as Embiid? It just seems that Ben has a long leash and by the time he does actually reach this status it may be too late.
Harden to the Nets Effect
At the beginning of the season, trading Ben Simmons seemed unlikely. Then the Harden trade talks heated up. Two destinations were narrowed down. It was a battle between the Nets and the Sixers. Ultimately, the Houston Rockets agreed to send the one-time NBA MVP and three-time reigning scoring champion, James Harden to Brooklyn.
Reports came out that Ben Simmons may have been in the trade rumors. According to the Inquirers, Keith Pompey, the Sixers thought they had a deal for Harden done. The team won’t come out and say it, but Morey pushed hard to reunite with the 2018 MVP. Simmons and Thybulle were even informed by their agents on Wednesday of an expected trade, according to Sixers insider Keith Pompey.
Have the new brass become tired or want to line up “Superstars” when they are on top of the game. Does this motivate Simmons? Does this divide Simmons even more? Only time will tell.
Up and Coming Players
One of the most encouraging things you could say about Shake Milton so far this season is that he has been able to play an effective sixth man. He’s had tighter control with his handle this season. Shake has additional strength/weight he put on during the offseason, which helps him keep defenders on his hip and finish around the basket. The touch has always been there and Milton has long enough arms to score around people, and now you’re starting to see him tie all of that together.
It was Milton, not Ben Simmons or Tobias Harris, who did his best to try to keep the Sixers in the Grizzlies game during the second half. With nothing really working and struggling to share the ball it was a lost cause.
Tyrese Maxey has been a breath of fresh air coming off the bench. He seems to have a tall ceiling and the sky is the limit. Recently against the Nuggests, Maxey had his most impressive game. Actually the most impressive game by any rookie this season so far. He landed 39 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals, two turnovers, and three fouls, while going 18-33 from the field and 3-8 from the 3-point line. I personally am enjoying watching this kid grow in a real NBA player. Could not tell you the last time I was excited for a 76ers first round pick that was not a top 5 pick. Thank you, Maxey.
The Sixers Turnover Struggles
Turnovers are keeping the Sixers from being a dominant team. They lead the NBA in turnover with 243. Even though they have been short-handed due to Covid and some mild injuries the turnovers are the biggest problem. The Sixers are 9-5 and sitting at 4th place in the East.
More growth needs to continue for many players as they get more time to gel. Can Ben step up especially in the absence of Embiid? Can Tobias play consistently and keep this team competitive. Time will tell.
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Al is one of the two co-creators of Edge of Philly Sports. Al started radio and podcasting in 2012 and covering sports in 2015. A lifelong Philly sports fan since watching the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers with his grandfathers at age 7. Al always looks at the other side of the hot topics and gives his different outlook on those topics. Web and Graphic Design.