76ers

Offering Ben Simmons the rookie max extension is a no-brainer

Offering Ben Simmons the rookie max extension is a no-brainer

We all know by now that Ben Simmons has one serious flaw.

His lack of a jump shot is an issue and will continue to be until he can hit enough to force defenses to respect it. It’s been a point of frustration for Sixers fan over the last two playoff runs.

With that said, it is a no-brainer for the Sixers to give Simmons the rookie max extension that NBC Sports Philadelphia has confirmed the two sides are working toward

The most important thing to think about through all of this is age. He’s 22 — he’ll be 23 next month — and has already earned a Rookie of the Year award and an All-Star appearance. Sure, the progress with his jumper is discouraging, but think about some of the things we’ve seen him do.

Simmons’ best NBA game was against the Warriors, a 26-point, eight-rebound, six-assist performance in a road win over the defending champs. One of his best playoff performances was against Toronto, the reigning champs, in Game 6, an elimination game in which he had 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists. He also proved his mettle as a tough and versatile defender that could have All-Defensive Team potential in that series against the Raptors.

One of the concerns fans may have is timing. The Sixers could’ve let the season play out and have Simmons become a restricted free agent next summer, meaning they'd have the right of first refusal. Part of it is peace of mind for Simmons. He can play the season without that potential extension looming over him. It’s also peace of mind for the team. They know the cap situation and won’t have to answer constant questions about “why they don’t believe in Simmons” or something to that effect. 

While you could certainly match any offer Simmons will get as a restricted free agent, it’s just a super dangerous game to play. The Sixers are going to be right up against it for the foreseeable future with Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid and Al Horford all locked in. Another team can have Simmons sign an offer sheet that’s for a shorter term — the shortest term a team can offer is two years — but for a higher salary. If you match that, it could mess up your cap plans and you’d also only have Simmons for two years. It's similar to what the Nets did with "poison pill" offer sheets to players like Tyler Johnson. You also run the enormous risk of souring what’s been a good relationship between the player and the team.

So what if Simmons doesn’t improve his jump shot enough to your liking? It’s understandable that his youth and underdeveloped game could prohibit a team trying to win a championship. But this is a No. 1 pick that still has the makings of a transcendent player. If the Sixers ever decided to move on from Simmons — which still seems like a particularly silly notion at this point in time — teams would be lining up with offers for an All-Star under the age of 25.

No matter how frustrated you may be about Simmons and his jumper, the max deal is the right move for the Sixers. He’s too young, too talented and there's entirely too much unnecessary risk.

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Sixers' Joel Embiid jokes he'll lose 50 pounds because of food at Disney World

Sixers' Joel Embiid jokes he'll lose 50 pounds because of food at Disney World

The Sixers departed on Thursday for life in the NBA’s quasi-bubble in Orlando.

They stepped on board their flight with a variety of styles. Joel Embiid’s all-white, hazmat suit look was by far the most unique. 

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If you need me I’ll be in the bubble 😤 📲

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⚫️⚪️

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The NBA’s health and safe protocols mandate that a player or staff member stays in their individual hotel room — the Sixers are at Disney’s Grand Floridian Hotel — while the result of the coronavirus test they took at arrival is returned. Another test then must be taken at least 24 hours after that initial test and also come back as negative for one to advance to Phase 4, which includes team activities such as practice. 

Not every player in Orlando has been a fan of the food during this quarantine period and photos like the one Nuggets guard Troy Daniels shared were not the most appetizing. 

This prompted The New York Times’ Marc Stein to report that “player meals won’t look like airline trays after the first 48 hours.”

As the Sixers transition to the next stage of this unprecedented process, Embiid showed his meal on Instagram with some characteristic humor. 

Yes, that last photo is really Embiid, at a Basketball without Borders camp in 2011.

Though Embiid said Tuesday he doesn’t believe in the NBA’s plan to resume play and laid out a number of concerns, he seems to be having as much fun as he can under the unusual circumstances. 

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Twitter drama with Joel Embiid and Kendrick Perkins involves liked and deleted tweets

Twitter drama with Joel Embiid and Kendrick Perkins involves liked and deleted tweets

Joel Embiid doesn’t tweet much nowadays.

He appeared to make a statement, though, via a recent tweet he liked.

ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins on Wednesday night criticized Embiid for noting he “hated” the NBA’s plan to restart the season at Disney World and still does not think it’s safe enough. Perkins’ reaction was devoid of empathy and did not address Embiid’s legitimate concerns, instead framing Embiid's comments as "just an excuse."

Embiid then liked a tweet showing “prime Kendrick Perkins,” which features air balled jumpers, ungainly charges and many other lowlights. 

Perkins later felt compelled to reply with a reel of more positive NBA moments for himself. 

A champion with the 2008 Celtics, Perkins averaged 5.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 782 NBA games. A three-time All-Star, Embiid has career averages of 24.1 points and 11.5 rebounds. There's clearly a disparity. 

There was another layer to the mini-drama Thursday afternoon as Perkins reacted to Embiid wearing a hazmat suit before boarding the Sixers’ flight to Orlando.

Perkins tweeted the following in response to Embiid’s attire: 

However, according to a slew of Twitter users commenting on that post, Perkins initially sent and then deleted a harsher message that told Embiid he should have opted out.

While Perkins’ antics have been foolish, they shouldn’t overshadow Embiid’s legitimate concerns. Perkins does not seem to acknowledge that it's possible to weigh various factors before making a difficult decision, which is what Embiid has done by choosing to travel to Orlando despite being wary of playing during a pandemic, and in an area where cases have recently spiked. 

The Sixers’ first game at Disney World is scheduled for Aug. 1 against the Indiana Pacers (see schedule).

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