Fresh off a win over the defending NBA Champions, the Philadelphia 76ers have to be feeling pretty good about their current situation. Atop the standings, with their two stars playing well, the team seems destined for something big this season.
Still, there is a sense that something might be holding them back. As an early MVP candidate, Joel Embiid has really impressed this season. With even more shooters, and space to do his thing in the paint, there’s really no telling how high their potential could reach.
Which is why, in light of the situation happening in D.C., some are clamoring for the Sixers to acquire sharpshooting guard Bradley Beal — even if it means giving up Ben Simmons.
In a recent article, one NBA analyst broke down what a potential deal might look like, and why it could work for both sides.
At 24, Simmons has already made two All-Star teams, is one of the best passers in the league and is rapidly emerging as a perennial All-NBA-level defender.
His lack of shooting makes him a terrible fit alongside Westbrook, but Simmons’ contract runs at least two years longer (three, if Westbrook declines his massive player option for 2022-23).
In lineups with Simmons, Hachimura, Deni Avdija and Isaac Bonga, the Wizards would have plenty of size, playmaking and switchability.
In return for Simmons, the Sixers would get a proven scorer and 2x NBA All-Star to plug alongside Embiid.
The argument for such a deal for the Philadelphia 76ers is roughly the same as the one many were making when it looked like James Harden might be headed their way.
There still seems to be plenty of untapped potential with the Simmons-Joel Embiid pairing, but it’s not hard to see why some are clamoring to see Embiid surrounded with even more shooting.
Over the last two seasons, Philly is plus-4.8 points per 100 possessions with both on the floor, compared to plus-9.7 when Embiid plays without Simmons.
Simmons and Beal are two of the best young players in the game — but both provide different advantages to their teams.
As a playmaker, leader, and defender, Simmons is a guy better suited to lead the charge of a rebuild. As a sharpshooting, perimeter-oriented player, Beal would be great for boosting the offense and opening up the interior for Embiid.
It’ll be interesting to see where they are by this season’s trade deadline.