Ben Simmons

Warriors, 76ers collaborate to honor Philadelphia native Kobe Bryant

Warriors, 76ers collaborate to honor Philadelphia native Kobe Bryant

Joel Embiid on Tuesday night played while wearing the No. 24 on his jersey instead of his customary 21.

His 76ers teammates wore one of two numbers during pregame warmups. Some wore 24, others wore 8.

The Warriors, every last one of them, wore black. The weight of the moment was etched on the face of rookie guard Jordan Poole.

This was the power and influence of Kobe Bryant, whose death on Sunday is being absorbed ever so slowly by the NBA fraternity and many outside the sport.

Temporarily defying the rules and purpose of competition, the Warriors and 76ers began the game in Philadelphia -- where Kobe was born and attended high school -- by allowing themselves to reflect on something bigger than basketball.

[RELATED: Draymond, Kerr having trouble processing Kobe's death]

They spent the first 35 seconds of the game focused solely on Kobe’s life and death. Embiid won the opening tip, directing the ball to Ben Simmons, who promptly placed it on the floor, where it sat for the next eight seconds. The crowd inside Wells Fargo Arena stood and cheered, after which an eight-second backcourt violation was assessed, the turnover giving the ball to the Warriors.

D’Angelo Russell inbounded to Draymond Green, who followed Simmons’ example by placing the ball on the floor. The Warriors took a 24-second possession violation, giving the ball back to the Sixers.

The first dribble was not taken until 11: 25 remained in the first quarter, the first shot coming 22 seconds later.

This all came after a pregame ceremony to honor Bryant. His Lower Merion High School No. 33 jersey, white with maroon trim, was spotlighted, along with eight more spotlights signifying the other victims that perished in the helicopter crash Sunday in Southern California. The names of all nine, including Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were in lights on the message board.

It was another example of the vibe permeating the NBA since the tragedy.

NBA rumors: Some Warriors staffers say Draymond Green, Ben Simmons don't fit

NBA rumors: Some Warriors staffers say Draymond Green, Ben Simmons don't fit

Breaking news -- the Warriors are not going to win the 2020 NBA championship.

There still are 44 games remaining in the regular season, and the front office has work to do before the Feb. 6 trade deadline. But the reality is that the organization already is looking ahead to next season, and plotting how the Warriors can be a title contender again in 2021 and beyond.

It will be fascinating to see what Golden State does with its first-round pick (which potentially could fall in the top five), and what ultimately happens with D'Angelo Russell.

Might the Dubs package the two assets in a trade for another star player? One name being tossed around in basketball circles is Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.

And as Marcus Thompson of The Athletic writes:

Simmons, as one source told me, is probably the best player the Warriors could possibly get for Russell, just considering the needs of the Warriors and their potential trade partners.

Reputed for welcoming all opinions to the table, the Warriors front office probably won’t be unanimous on Simmons. There are major questions about how he would fit. 

A couple of people in the organization straight out said that Simmons and (Draymond) Green don’t fit together.

Simmons is just 23 years old and is averaging 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 2.2 steals this season, while shooting over 56 percent from the field.

Yes, he doesn't shoot 3-pointers. And yes, Draymond hasn't shot well from deep during the regular season since he made 38.8 percent of his long balls during the 2015-16 campaign.

But you better believe that if the Warriors actually acquired the 2018 Rookie of the Year, Draymond would spend all summer getting his 3-point shot right.

And I would bet on the three-time All-Star shooting at least 34 percent from beyond the arc over the course of the season -- a respectable number that defenses would be forced to take into account when preparing for the Warriors.

[RELATED: Russell explains worst part about current Dubs situation]

Also, management would make sure that other roster spots get filled with guys who can shoot from deep to help with potential spacing issues.

Additionally, can you imagine Draymond and Simmons together on defense? They would wreak havoc.

For now, try to enjoy the rest of the season. But let's bookmark this conversation for several months down the road ...

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Why Warriors, 76ers might consider D'Angelo Russell-Ben Simmons trade

Why Warriors, 76ers might consider D'Angelo Russell-Ben Simmons trade

The expectation around the NBA is that the Warriors will combine their top 2020 draft pick with D'Angelo Russell in a major trade this coming summer. As for who Golden State would receive in return, that's still very much unknown.

Whether it's Giannis Antetokounmpo, Karl Anthony-Towns or any other of the best NBA players currently rumored to possibly be available depending on future outcomes, you can be sure that the Warriors will be associated with just about anyone that qualifies for superstar status and particularly those that become disgruntled with their incumbent situations.

Given the way the Philadelphia 76ers' season has proceeded thus far, both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid potentially are names you could add to that list.

In analyzing the Sixers' current problems, TrueHoop's David Thorpe made the case that a Russell (plus the pick) for Simmons trade would make sense for both sides.

"For basketball reasons I could talk about all day, I think Simmons would be most useful to the Golden State Warriors," Thorpe wrote. "The 76ers would get D'Angelo Russell, Kevon Looney and the Warriors' 2020 lottery pick. That gives Philadelphia a brilliant pick-and-roll point guard ... "

Based on a Twitter poll, however, it appears most people believe that sort of trade would be fairly one-sided in the Warriors' favor.

[RELATED: Report: Lee, Dubs working to finalize multiyear contract]

The 76ers have lost four of their last five games, currently sit at a disappointing fifth in the Eastern Conference standings and are flawed from a roster construction standpoint. Should Philadelphia experience an early-round playoff exit, that could be the final push required to force the Sixers to make a big change.

If they feel compelled to do so, you can be sure the Warriors will inquire.