There is no telling what this Philadelphia team will look like to start the season with Ben Simmons refusing to show up to training camp. He has pretty much made it clear that he’s willing to let $8 million go to a complete waste, so it is a mystery as to if he will ever end up showing up for this team.
Philly is in a tough spot because obviously they want Ben Simmons to stay since they just signed him to a 5-year $177 million contract last year, but he is playing hardball. Something must have really changed in this past season for him to want to escape so badly.
A Ben Simmons trade is a must if he is willing to just sit out for the entire season and does not want to be there. Philly is willing to wait until they get the right offer, so something may not happen until later on in the year, but it is inevitable at this point - Ben Simmons will be traded.
Point Guard - Shake Milton
With Ben Simmons out of the picture, the 76ers will most likely roll with Shake Milton as their starting point guard. Shake was one of the primary players off the bench last season. He averaged 13.0 PPG, 3.1 APG, and 2.3 RPG in 23.2 minutes per game.
If the 76ers opt to trade Ben Simmons, let me rephrase, when the 76ers trade Ben Simmons, they will probably trade for a point guard. Which would shift Shake Milton back to the bench. Some of the top locations for Ben appear to be the T-wolves, Pacers, or Cavs which would most likely send over DLo, Malcolm Brogdon, or Collin Sexton.
Shooting Guard - Seth Curry
Seth Curry has bounced around a ton in his career, but he seems to have found a home in Philadelphia. Seth Curry averaged 12.5 PPG, 2.7 APG, 2.4 RPG and shot an incredible percentage from three (45%). Curry is a great fit alongside Ben because of his ability to spread the floor, but then he can also create plays for himself and others.
Both Curry brothers have been 3-point marksmen throughout their careers. It would be fun to see them compete against each other in the 3-point competition this season.
Small Forward - Danny Green
Danny Green is your textbook 3 and D player. He hits the occasional 3 at a good percentage and has an excellent defense. He’s not going to fill up the stat sheet, but he can be a helpful player to have on the floor.
Danny Green is 34 years old and a 3-time NBA champion with the Lakers, Raptors, and Spurs. He has been on some very talented teams, but he has played a role in getting all of those rings.
Power Forward - Tobias Harris
Tobias Harris is coming into his fourth season in Philadelphia. He has had some great seasons for the 76ers. Last season he averaged 19.5 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 3.5 APG. Tobias is also known for being an efficient player. He was just below 50/40/90 status last year.
Tobias can be a second scoring option on a championship team. This Philly team has been right there every year. Last season they took a step back by losing to the Hawks. That could be one of the reasons Ben wants out. But in all reality, if he wouldn’t be so afraid to attempt a shot or if he just had a decent free throw then the 76ers could have advanced.
Center - Joel Embiid
Arguably the best center in the league - Joel Embiid.
If not the “best” center in the league, he is the most dominant. This guy can score on anyone - whenever he wants. If you aren’t sending a double-team in the post, he will score. Joel has started to realize this and has become noticeably more aggressive inside.
Last season Joel was in the MVP discussion after averaging 28.5 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 2.8 APG in only 31.1 MPG. His per 36 numbers were 33 PPG and 12.2 RPG. The only thing that ever holds this man back is injuries. With that being said, the 76ers have done a good job resting him accordingly and preparing him for the playoffs. With everything going on in Philly, you really can’t blame Embiid. He’s the heart and soul of the Philadelphia 76ers.
The question is: Can “The Process” ever result in a championship?
Jaden Springer, Grant Riller, Tyrese Maxey, Furkan Korkmaz, Isaiah Joe, Shaquille Harrison, Matisse Thybulle, Georges Niang, Paul Reed, Charles Bassey, Andre Drummond
The bench in Philadelphia is not very deep. They added a couple of new guys in Georges Niang and Andre Drummond who should take up some of the minutes from the bench. Doc Rivers believes that Georges will be important for them this year and has talked about playing him some minutes as a small-ball center. Andre Drummond was swapped for Dwight Howard this off-season. Drummond could turn out to be a good pickup for the 76ers, especially when Joel sits. Drummond is known for being able to put up some big-time stat lines.
Other contributors off the bench include sophomore Tyrese Maxey, knock-down 3-point shooter Furkan Korkmaz, and lock-down defender Matisse Thybulle.
Tyrese Maxey had a decent rookie campaign averaging 8.0 PPG, 2.0 APG, and 1.7 RPG. He had a few huge games during last season when there were some injuries in place, but regardless, he proved he has the potential to play at a high level. He may not be ready for that starting PG role just yet though.
Furkan Korkmaz has been with the 76ers for a few years now. He usually plays around 20 minutes a game and comes in to hit the occasional 3 and relieve the starters for a bit. Nothing special here, but Korkmaz does provide the 76ers with some wing depth.
Matisse Thybulle is another player that plays around 20 minutes off the bench for the 76ers. Thybulle is not going to get you 20 points, let alone 10 points in a game, but he will sub in and guard the best player on the floor. It goes to show how valuable defense still is in the NBA, but if he could improve his offensive game a little then he would be a much better asset for this team.
What Will The 76ers Look Like This Season?
The answer to this question could go 1 of 3 ways:
Ben Simmons continues to hold out and the 76ers don’t find a trade.
Ben Simmons gives up on his hold-out and shows up for the 76ers.
The 76ers find a trade for Ben Simmons in the next couple of weeks.
As it stands right now, the 76ers are going to go with what they’ve got and proceed on with the season. The team as it stands will make the playoffs in the East, but they have no chance at winning a title. With Ben Simmons, they could, but he seems to think otherwise.
I imagine we will see a trade in the coming weeks because after everything Ben has said and done - there is no rekindling this relationship. It is shattered. Done.
It’s never good to have news like this surrounding a team. It creates negative energy and it’s best to get away from it as fast as possible. The 76ers should be making calls daily to try and figure this out before the start of the season. If this lingers throughout the season, it could turn out bad.