76ers owner Josh Harris: Joel Embiid ‘our most important player. He’s clearly our future’
In the last 30 years, three pairs of under-age-25 teammates have been All-Stars together:
- Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway (Magic)
- Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (Thunder)
- Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (76ers)
Shaq and Penny broke up before winning a title together. So did Durant and Westbrook.
Will Embiid and Simmons rise together in Philadelphia?
If so, it sounds clear which player Philadelphia would pick.
76ers owner Josh Harris on Embiid, via Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:
Simmons is a good player. But he’s not at all a floor spacer. His skill set doesn’t complement Embiid particularly well.
How does Simmons fit into the 76ers that Harris described?
On-court fit matters. But so does talent. Simmons brings plenty of the latter. He has great size for a lead ballhandler and excellent court vision. His defense is strong.
Philadelphia should continue trying to get Embiid and Simmons to mesh. In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt to listen for a trade that returns better-fitting talent. But selling low on Simmons just because of his fit with Embiid would be a mistake.
Simmons will be eligible for a contract extension this offseason. Harris’ words matter, but actions speak louder. Extension negotiations will be our best opportunity to gauge how the 76ers value Simmons.
That said, he’d still hold plenty of trade value on a max extension.