Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are just the third pair of teammates in 30 years to become All-Stars together while under the age of 25, but the pair have not always gotten along due to their similar cocky personalities.
The situation raises obvious questions for the Sixer franchise, which 76ers owner Josh Harris addressed to Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:
“He’s our most important player. He’s clearly our future — they’re all an important part of the future — but Joel is exceptional. We generally talk to him about how we are oriented, and what type of players we might be bringing in. We get his advice. In terms of specific conversations, we give him a heads-up. At times, it’s not always appropriate because of the other parties involved. You don’t want to compromise who we are talking to or put [Embiid] in an awkward position. “But we’re certainly thinking all the time about how to compliment his skill set, which is 3 and D wings, people who spread the court. He’s a dominant presence defensively and he’s dominant in the paint. We need to take the pressure off him so people don’t collapse on him.”
It would be unfair not to give credit to Simmons who is an exceptional player, but it may be a Scottie Pippen-Hakeem Olajuwon situation – they’re both great, but one is a legend. Embiid clearly holds the upper hand as far as dominance, skills, and statistics. If Simmons can’t play with him, the 76ers have no problem parting with him to keep Embiid.
It’s an unfortunate situation considering how good the pair play together and how much success they could have. Although, they are quickly becoming expensive assets in the NBA and may act like all other superstars who want to be the main man or make the most money.
The best thing the 76ers can do is to try to make Embiid and Simmons get along because their reconciliation could mean repetitive playoff appearances for the franchise that has been losing for nearly a decade. The team could also be open to trade offers for Simmons in the meantime.
The 76ers are well on their way to the playoffs, and the pair will have a chance to put their differences aside to bring a much-wanted championship to Philadelphia. Despite their disagreements, the playoffs always have a way of making two players click, even with Shaq and Kobe. However, like those two legends, these two may not get along that great either.