With the Sixers season ending unexpectedly in seven games to the upstart Hawks, the franchise once again faces questions regarding their future.
Whether it’s asking themselves if Doc Rivers is truly the right man for the job. Or going deeper and pondering if the duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid can truly win.
Following their home loss to the Hawks, when asked if Simmons could be the point guard on a championship team, Rivers' answer deviated from prototypical coach-speak.
Coaches would usually still praise their players and defend them publicly regardless of the questions they receive, as Rivers did leading up to Game 7. But clearly, Simmons’ performance in their season finale may have left the coach questioning many things.
Embiid also gave his thoughts on the loss, in a way that seemed to be directed at Simmons.
"I'll be honest,” Embiid began to say. “I thought the turning point was when, I don't know how to say it. I thought the turning point was we had an open shot and we made one free throw and we missed the other and they came down and scored. We didn't get a good possession on the other end and Trae [Young] came back and he made a 3 and then from there, down four, it's on me. I turned the ball over and tried to make something happen from the perimeter. But I thought that was the turning point."
With Simmons more so entering the trade rumor mill than Embiid, PointsBet has both players as +250 favorites to end up in a Blazers uniform if either player is dealt.
It’s hard to foresee Philadelphia trading Embiid unless he requests it. He’s coming off a regular season in which he finished second in MVP voting to Nikola Jokic and dominated during the playoffs.
During their playoff run, he averaged 28.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.5 blocks.
Here are the Top 6 teams to land Embiid per PointsBet:
- Blazers +250
- Rockets +300
- Warriors +300
- Lakers +450
- Timberwolves +500
- Pacers +600
As for Simmons, he’s the likelier of the two to be dealt. He averaged a playoff career low in points (11.9), shots (7.9), and free-throw percentage (34.2).
Simmons’ lack of offensive game is nothing new. The jarring part is he hasn’t improved on the offensive end and isn’t fond of taking jumpers.
If Simmons were to be dealt, the likeliest candidate could be CJ McCollum. The trade would help solve the defensive issues for Portland and give Damian Lillard his own point-forward, someone in the ilk of Draymond Green and Bam Adebayo.
As for Philadelphia, they’ll gain another scorer and willing playmaker to pair with Embiid and Tobias Harris.
The problem in both trades is both teams would be losing a significant contributor. McCollum has always been second to Lillard in scoring and the Blazers are typically atop the league in offensive efficiency.
The Sixers would be parting with a pass-first playmaker and a guy who could defend every single position.
A trade of that magnitude seems like it could make sense for both teams if they’re willing to find replacements to cover up their new deficiencies.
Here are the Top 6 teams to land Simmons per PointsBet:
- Trail Blazers +250
- Wizards +300
- Spurs +450
- Jazz +550
- Thunder +550
- Warriors +600
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