The Sixers plan to roll out an untraditional starting lineup next season with 6-foot-10 Ben Simmons as the point guard. It will be a unique look reflective of today's changing game wherein positions are not determined by size but by skill.
Few NBA teams have the player whose talents can transition from a four to a one. The Bucks have become the poster child for that with Giannis Antetokounmpo.
At 6-foot-11, Antetokounmpo is averaging 23.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.7 steals over 35.3 minutes in his fourth season. He became an All-Star starter this year and has been causing matchup problems across the league. In the Bucks' 112-98 win over the Sixers on Monday (see Instant Replay), he scored a game-high 24 points with eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks, two steals and no turnovers.
The Sixers will task Simmons with point guard duties in what will be his rookie year after missing this entire season with a foot fracture. The assignment will be an adjustment for Simmons and the entire team, as it learns to gel with a rare type of floor general.
The Bucks on Monday shared how they have made it work and serve as an example of how the Sixers can find success with a big man running the point.
How the point-forward sees it: Antetokounmpo
"I think they saw in Ben Simmons what everybody sees, the playmaking ability that he has. He can pass the ball from anywhere on the court because he's bigger than everybody, he has the length.
"I think he's going to be really good for them, having Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid running the pick-and-roll with those two. It's going to be tough to guard. Next year, they're going to be a team that's going to be fun to watch.
"I think they need playmakers around them and shooters, too. Obviously they've got Joel Embiid that can play out of the post, he can pick-and-roll, pick-and-pop.
"I've never seen [Simmons] in person. That's going to be what I look forward to."
How a head coach sees it: Jason Kidd
"With Ben's skill set, his basketball IQ, his feel of making guys better, it's going to be a plus for them. Then you have a guy who's [6-10] playing the point, it can cause a lot of problems. With them looking forward to doing that, hopefully it puts them in a better position to win."
How a veteran sees it: Jason Terry
"[The key is] understanding that it's going to be a process because it doesn't just happen overnight at that position. It's the hardest position to play in professional sports, besides quarterback in the NFL, which is kind of similar. So we've had to be patient and understand there's going to be some peaks and valleys. Over the long haul, if a player has the skill set, you'll have success.
"The challenges are if you're playing with a smaller guard that's also a ball-handler, you've got two guys in the backcourt kind of fighting for the ball. It has to be made clear he's the point guard; everybody else will run.
"The only other thing is that when you have a bigger point guard, nine times out of 10 he's going to have a mismatch. It changes the dynamic of your prototypical offense, so to speak.
"Communication is key. A lot of times it does start with the point guard position."
How a guard sees it: Malcolm Brogdon
"Playing off of him (Antetokounmpo), it's not hard to adjust because he attracts so much attention. You wait for your opportunity and he's unselfish so he finds you.
"It creates matchup nightmares. As an opposing team, you have to figure out who's going to guard him. That means the matchups all over the floor are going to be shifted and you're going to have to play a different way than you (the opponent) want to play.
"[Defensive matchups are] not really a problem, especially for us. We just have him guard the four man. Our smallest guy guards the point guard."
How a wing sees it: Khris Middleton
"Giannis creates a problem. I know he's always going to have two or three guys on him when he drives the ball, so just be ready and find the open spot.
"[The key is] just keep moving, knowing he's going to make the right decision for the team and have confidence in him.
"You can switch a lot of things with Giannis [on defense]. He can guard a five, a four, three, two or one. Giannis is able to switch out on different players."
How a big sees it: Greg Monroe
"A playmaker is a playmaker. In this league, a guy who's maybe not typically a point guard, a lot of times the best player has the ball in their hands. ... It's like LeBron (James), he has the ball a lot.
"Defensively, even when Giannis is on the court, there's usually someone else who can guard a big. The league is going small right now, so it's a little different than a traditional two bigs.
"We might be crossmatched for a quick second but I don't think that really affects the matchups that much, as much as people think it would. Especially with a guy like Giannis."