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“This one stings, for obvious…”
That used to be the reaction of Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown to the facts of Ben Simmons‘ partially dislocated knee, which he suffered in Wednesday’s 107-98 victory over the Washington Wizards, in accordance with ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.
Brown’s reaction is understandable. The postseason is no longer up to two weeks away. And since the originate of his career in 2017-18, Simmons is Philadelphia’s leader in wins over replacement participant.
His career averages of 16.4 components, 8.3 rebounds and eight.0 assists are phenomenal. This season on my own, he leads the NBA in steals per recreation. And he is heading within the appropriate direction to compose an All-Defensive team.
The Ringer’s Dan Devine even laid out a Defensive Player of the three hundred and sixty five days argument for him:
“Simmons used to be a chronic threat, main the league in steals whereas ending 2nd in deflections and third in loose balls recovered. He persisted to offer his injury from plenty of angles, too: For the third consecutive season, in accordance with defensive versatility metrics compiled by Krishna Narsu of Nylon Calculus and Andrew Patton of The BBall Index, he spent no longer no longer up to 15 percent of his floor time defending the 1, 2, 3, and 4 positions, whereas moreover seeing his truthful piece of responsibility against bigs. (Yet every other enjoyable nugget from Narsu and Patton’s be taught: Simmons spends extra time than every other All-Well-known particular person guarding opposing teams’ no. 1 alternate suggestions.)”
That defensive versatility used to be foremost for a Sixers squad that ranked within the 76th percentile in components allowed per 100 possessions when Simmons used to be on the ground. And now, it would possibly perchance well maybe presumably wish to examine out tips on how to defend the No. 4 or No. 6 offenses of the Boston Celtics or Miami Warmth, respectively, in a playoff series without him.
Bontemps tweeted that the “Sixers will maintain the next sense of what a timeline may perchance well maybe presumably presumably be for Ben Simmons over the next 24 hours,” however a topic of weeks looks extra probably than day-to-day. That may perchance well maybe presumably opt Philadelphia via the first round.
Basketball Reference’s most contemporary Playoff Chances Document has the 76ers facing the Celtics, a team with extra playmaking and positional versatility than most. Not having Simmons to consume time on Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward may perchance well maybe presumably impact their probabilities to attain.
And a prime-round exit may perchance well maybe presumably presumably be hard for Brown to beat.
“It used to be genuine a foregone conclusion that Brett used to be going to score fired if they didn’t produce something special [in the 2019 playoffs],” Ryen Russillo said on the Bill Simmons Podcast. “And then, it used to be like, ‘Oh wow. They kept him.’ And I’m telling you now, that similar stuff has picked up as soon as more.”
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Not having Simmons may perchance well maybe presumably give Brown an out, however few things in lifestyles are as tenuous because the job security of NBA head coaches. Even without Simmons, a beatdown by the palms of the Celtics or Warmth (who maintain their very like huge name fly in Jimmy Butler) would positively fuel hypothesis about Brown’s future.
None of that may perchance well maybe presumably presumably be a foregone conclusion, though. The Sixers are plus-1.8 components per 100 possessions when Simmons and Joel Embiid are both on the ground. They’re plus-12.2 when Embiid performs without Simmons.
It’s worth noting that here’s a weird vogue. Despite unique narratives concerning on-court friction between the two stars, Philadelphia has historically been at its only when both play.
Nonetheless if every thing by some capacity falls into attach because the 76ers work extra via Embiid over the coming weeks, the future that may perchance well maybe presumably basically feel much less sure is Simmons’.
This season has equipped some proof of that possibility:
- Embiid with Simmons off the ground: 31.6 components, 15.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists per 75 possessions
- Embiid with Simmons on the ground: 25.4 components, 12.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists per 75 possessions
Take into accout a deep playoff flee with Embiid inserting up numbers like that and Simmons on the bench. How may perchance well maybe presumably the front office no longer entertain the premise of checking out the commerce market?
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Simmons brings a determined mixture of dimension and expertise that masses of teams around the league would covet. If Philadelphia modified him with just a few floor-spacers who don’t dominate the ball, it would possibly perchance well maybe presumably free up one other level of play for Embiid.
The frequent, staunch rebuttal to folk that call for the breakup of this duo is: “Properly, they’ve never been surrounded with the true supporting solid.”
With even one elite shooter like JJ Redick within the lineup, the Simmons-Embiid accumulate ranking skyrocketed. If the aim is holding the head two in attach, a teammate like that must be the target.
The train is that the Sixers shouldn’t maintain a ton of flexibility true now.
Tobias Harris (123rd within the league in field plus/minus) is attach to compose a mean of $37.2 million per season via 2023-24. Al Horford (34 years outdated skool and 55th in field plus/minus) is on the books for a mean of $27 million via 2022-23, though only $14.5 million is guaranteed within the final note three hundred and sixty five days.
Superb success successful a commerce with either of these contracts alive to.
The players who can return worth in a deal are Simmons and Embiid. The latter will now maintain the probability to prove his worth because the unquestioned alpha for the 76ers.
The inclined may perchance well maybe presumably only be in a series to explore because the next several weeks potentially shape the capacity ahead for the organization.
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