The Philadelphia 76ers finished the 2020-2021 regular season with the best record in the Eastern Conference. Joel Embiid was a finalist in this year’s MVP race. And yet, the Sixers are out of the 2021 playoffs after losing to the Atlanta Hawks in the East semifinals.
While Joel Embiid averaged 28 points and ten rebounds, Ben Simmons was a big question mark throughout the playoffs. Despite being hailed by many as the team’s number two scoring option, Simmons only normed 11 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. His scoring average in the playoffs was lower than what he averaged during the regular season (14 points per game).
With the Sixers now on yet another early vacation, the question is: Will Ben Simmons going to stay in Philadelphia?
The Struggles Continue
Despite the trade glamours from fans worldwide, no trade requests are coming out from both sides. And sources say that the Sixers are committed to keeping the top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft as an integral piece of their franchise.
The problem is, Simmons still has four years left in his current contract. If he cannot turn things around, especially on the offensive end, it means four more years of struggles for Philadelphia. Four more years of disappointment.
In four seasons with the Sixers, Simmons averaged 15 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists in the regular season. In three playoff runs, number 25 averaged 13 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. While he is consistent in getting the rebounds and dishing it out to teammates, his lack of consistent scoring became a concern.
How bad was it?
In the final three games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Hawks, Ben Simmons had 19 points combined. Nineteen points in three games. His best scoring game came in Game Two of the first round against the Washington Wizards when he finished with 22 points on 73% field goal shooting.
Simmons’ free-throw is also a concern that Philadelphia has been dealing with for four seasons now. In this year’s playoff, he just shot 34% from the line. To give you a clearer picture of how unacceptable Simmons has been from the free-throw line, Dwight Howard shot 60% from the same distance.
The Way Out(?)
Since Philadelphia lost another playoff series, fans and pundits alike are predicting trades involving Ben Simmons. Numerous trade predictions involving teams like the Golden State Warriors, the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Los Angeles Lakers are popping out left and right.
The question is: will any team willing to trade for Simmons and his offensive woes?
Make no mistake. Ben Simmons is an All-NBA Team kind of talent, but many see him as a player that requires high maintenance. With limited scoring weapons in his bag of tricks, this makes him a liability.
While the team is committed to helping Simmons improve offensively during the offseason, Simmons has been with the team for the past four seasons and that, his scoring averages have been dropping. How long will the team wait for them to realize that this Embiid-Simmons tandem will not work UNLESS Simmons gets better offensively?
In an interview, Joel Embiid called the idea of him and Simmons running it back for next season and beyond a “tricky question“.
One way or another, Ben Simmons is on his way out of Philadelphia. It doesn’t have to be during the offseason. Perhaps before the next trade deadline?