The Philadelphia 76ers Should Trade Joel Embiid

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Dec 10, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) reacts to the crowd after scoring against the Denver Nuggets during the third quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Now before you get up in arms, let me say this. It has not been sunny in Philadelphia the past few years as they have yet to make the Eastern Conference Finals. If they do not make it again this year why not try something new? I recognize Joel Embiid is a special talent. However we have yet to see him and Ben Simmons work offensively, both are paint dominant players. Because they are both players that rely on their talents inside the paint, playing the two together is trying to fit two giant peas in an undersized pod.

With Embiid currently out for the 76ers, Simmons has shown his true potential as a point forward. On Monday against the Nets, Simmons ended the game with 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists. On Saturday against the Knicks, Simmons had 21 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. Now the big knock on Simmons is the lack of a jump shot. But without Embiid, Simmons can rely on his paint play and his slashing ability. It is a bit of a stretch, but without Embiid, the 76ers can unlock Simmons’s full potential as a uber-athletic playmaker similar to the make up of one Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The big move that Philly has been clamoring for was exploring the trade market for Ben Simmons. But what if I told you that the 76ers makeup fits the play style of Ben Simmons more so than the makeup of Joel Embiid. I’m here to explain to you why trading Joel Embiid makes MORE sense than trading Ben Simmons.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons Do Not Fit Each Other’s Play Styles. Plain and Simple.

Ben Simmons is certainly one of the more unique talents in the three point dominated NBA we see today. Because he is so unique we have seen the 76ers try many different lineups around Simmons. None have prevailed yet as they have not reached the Conference Finals.

Simmons can do it all on a basketball court except shoot. He is one of the best defenders in the NBA, one of the best playmakers, and is elite at getting into the lane. But that last talent is where the 76ers run into trouble. Philadelphia already has an elite big man in the paint with Joel Embiid.

Joel Embiid is currently attempting around four three-pointers a game and only making 32% of them. I have to believe he is taking that amount to space the floor for Simmons, but that does no good for the 76ers offense. As an opposing team, I would happily allow Embiid beat me from deep rather than the paint.

49ers

See the problem here? Embiid and Simmons is a square peg in a round hole. Both are paint-centric players in an NBA that is all about pace and space. So how does it get fixed?

Why the 76ers Should Trade Joel Embiid instead of Ben Simmons

The 76ers have a perfect team constructed around Simmons rather than Embiid. For starters, Ben Simmons as a point power forward allows for Al Horford to play the Center, his natural position. But think of the fit around him, Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris can help run and gun alongside of Simmons. The 76ers would be fast, would spread the floor, and most importantly be able to keep up with the modern NBA. Horford would be a trailer, a pick-and-pop option for Simmons. Everything would center around Simmons’s decision making every possession. Think of what the Milwaukee Bucks have put around Giannis, the Sixers would look similar to that makeup with Simmons playing in the Giannis role.

As I said previously, this is NOT a knock on Joel Embiid. He is a world class talent, arguably the best center in the NBA. But him and Simmons is too much paint congestion. And as the 76ers are constructed right now, it would be smarter to explore the Embiid trade market rather than the Simmons trade market.

Possible Joel Embiid Trades

Before I get into any of these trade options, they are hypothetical. I do not see Philly moving on from Embiid, as he is beloved there. However, all three of these trades would better the teams involved in each deal.

A Joel Embiid-Paul George Swap

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Los Angeles Clippers Receive

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Philadelphia 76ers Receive

If this trade was accepted, I would be confident in saying that the 76ers and the Clippers would be playing in the NBA Finals. Think about it, the Clippers would get big men in Embiid and Scott to keep up with the size of their main competitor in the Lakers. For the 76ers, it would add one of the best 3-and-D players in the NBA with Paul George, and a player they drafted in Shamet. The Sixers would be able to keep up with the 3’s taken by the Bucks but also combat Giannis defensively with a combination of Richardson, George, Simmons, and Horford.

Everything’s Bigger in Texas

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Dallas Mavericks Receive

  • Joel Embiid
  • Mike Scott
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Philadelphia 76ers Receive

Clearly the Mavericks are receiving the best player in the deal by acquiring Embiid. However it is about fit, and adding Porzingis to the 76ers gives Simmons one more pick and pop option. Also it keeps the Sixers with a big lineup to combat teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. Sure Kristaps may not be the best defensively, but pairing him with Simmons and Horford would allow him to focus more on the offensive side of the ball. Adding in Brunson to this deal gives another playmaker to Philly. When Simmons is off the floor, Brunson has proved he is more than capable of running an offense and creating his own shot.

For Dallas, they get a perfect pick-and-roll option for Dončić and more depth at the big man position as they just lost Dwight Powell to an Achilles injury. A duo of Embiid and Luka Dončić is the future of the NBA. It will run the West for years to come. As I said, it is a perfect pairing for both parties, Dončić and Embiid. Embiid can focus on dominating the paint with an elite floor spacer in Dončić. Both players can take over a game if needed, and that’s why the Mavericks would do the deal, to pair two of the best ten players in the NBA.

My Personal Favorite….

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Minnesota Timberwolves Receive

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Philadelphia 76ers Receive

  • Joel Embiid

Straight up. No filler in this deal, no picks, none of that. The Timberwolves get a defensive minded center. The 76ers get a Center that can spread the floor. Embiid gets his own team. Towns gets on a contender.

Simmons is the Future of the 76ers, NOT EMBIID

Look at the Warriors on their run, they were a team that played fast-paced, shot a lot of threes, but was also elite defensively. The 76ers have a chance to capture what made Golden State so special. But it is going to take a move to be made. It may not be popular in Philly, but Simmons is the future of this franchise. He does more for your team than Embiid. Sure he can not shoot, but he can defend almost every position, he creates offense, and he is one of the best in the league at getting to the rim. But what good is the last skill listed if Embiid is in the paint? It’s a gutsy move, but TRADE EMBIID. It will unleash the true Ben Simmons that we have seen flashes of. Like I said, the team is already built around Simmons with the exception of one position…. Sorry Joel, but the future of Philadelphia is with Ben Simmons.


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