Can Philly win a title as constructed?

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Can Philly win a title as constructed?
May 23
00:00 2019

This was supposed to be the year for the Philadelphia 76ers. Unfortunately for the City of Brotherly Love, the Toronto Raptors had other ideas. The Raptors defeated the 76ers in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. 

The Sixers began the year with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons as their young core. Before the trade deadline, they acquired Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to form one of the best starting fives in the NBA.

The team seemed to put all their chips on the table and attempted to surround Embiid and Simmons with as much talent as they could in hopes of winning a championship this season. They fell short of their goal, but why?

To me, the combination of Embiid and Simmons is like the modern-day version of Kareem and Magic. I am not comparing this duo to the Laker greats, I just feel they remind me of them considering Embiid, when healthy, is arguably the best big man in the league and Simmons reminds me of Magic with his height, pass-first attitude and his lack of a jump shot.

I thought they could work well together, especially since Embiid is able to step out to the three-point line and hit that shot with regularity. Simmons just does not seem to have enough aggressiveness to use his phenomenal gifts to score close to the rim. Maybe that is due to the arrival of Butler and Harris, but he should have no problem getting you 15 to 19 points on any given night.

People like to blame Simmons’ scoring woes on the fact he has not developed a jump shot yet. I can’t agree with that assessment, because that has not stopped Giannis Antetokounmpo from becoming an MVP candidate.  Antetokounmpo is not a good jump shooter, yet he is almost unstoppable in the paint. I know Simmons is not that kind of scorer, but the young man has elite skills and should be able to impact the game more on the offensive end.

Butler and Harris will be free agents this summer, so the question is, where do they go from here? Do they try and resign both Butler and Harris to long-term deals and try again next year as presently constructed? Do they let both walk and try to bring in other complementary players to mix with Embiid and Simmons? I don’t know what the right answer is to those questions. I am not sure the front office of the 76ers knows what to do either.

If I were Philly, I would try to bring everyone back and try again. I don’t think there is a better option out there, honestly. If you think about it, the team never really had a chance to gel as a cohesive unit. Couple that with the fact Embiid dealt with several injuries during the playoffs that helped give Toronto a leg up in the series.

I would try and give it another run to see if everyone can stay healthy. I hate to bring him up in this article, but LeBron James is no longer in the East, so why not dive in headfirst to give it another run. I don’t feel Philly will have a better chance going forward to win a championship than they will next season. 

I think Boston and Toronto will take a step back, because I feel their respective superstars will jump ship. The top dog in the East this season was Milwaukee, but if the 76ers get an entire year with this group, they have a great chance of defeating them in a 7-game series. 

I am interested to see what Philly does this summer.  Hopefully, they spend the money and give it another run. I’m not sure it’s the right move, but I think it’s their best move.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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