The Not So Curious Case of Ben Simmons & Joel Embiid.
The underperforming Sixers currently sit a .5 game back from the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference and face the 1st place Bucks tonight on National TV. The entire world is talking about Ben Simmons & Joel Embiid and whether or not they are the right fit on the court. From National to Local Media – the entire world loves to question our two, young, generational talents’ ability to coexist.
We have entered a state of constant Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons takes. And quite frankly, I’m going absolutely insane. I briefly reviewed the bad journalism surrounding the Sixers and more specifically Ben & Joel here.
My favorite tweet that I consistently see on my Twitter feed is the one comparing the two’s offensive rating, defensive rating, and net rating over the last three years as a reason to trade one of the two.
- Offensive rating: 113.3
- Defensive rating: 97.8
- Net rating: 15.5
- Offensive rating: 112.8
- Defensive rating: 104.9
- Net rating: 7.9
- Offensive rating: 104.7
- Defensive rating: 103.3
- Net rating: 1.4
Comparing all three years of data together and coming up with the fact that there’s a decline in production between Ben and Joel only works by simply looking at the numbers.
Let’s talk about since Hinkie was terminated from the team, the only players that are still here are, in fact, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Furkan Korkmaz.
Let’s talk about how Bryan Colangelo AND Elton Brand have brought in a rotating cast of characters over the last two years, providing little to no consistency around our two young all-stars.
Embiid knows it. Maybe we should listen to him. Check out this quote from the All-Star break when someone asked him about being able to play with Ben Simmons.
“I think it’s B.S.,” Embiid said, “because when you look at the last couple years, the last two years that we’ve been playing together, it’s not a problem. This year it’s only been a problem because our offense has struggled.”
Let’s stop and think about what these two have done and stop being absolute weirdos about them not being able to play together.
Year 1: Boston beat us 4-1 in the second round of the playoffs.
Year 2: Ball in Toronto bangs off the rim a million times. Raptors beat Sixers 4-3.
I would much rather be questioning ownership and management of how we could let this happen to Ben and Joel Embiid. How did we let the media dig their claws into our only hopes at a championship in the future?
When are they going to build around Ben Simmons in a way that compliments his lack of shooting? We have the most gifted shot-creator in the entire world and unfortunately for Ben (and us) there’s hasn’t been any type on consistent help for him. He’s certainly not to blame.
Speaking of 3 point shots. Year 1 they had Reddick, RoCo, and Saric. Year 2 they had the same pieces + Marco Belinelli. Year 3? Who do we have Furkan Korkmaz? Mike Scott has been absolutely terrible and fails to be held accountable due to the “Mike Scott Hive” who praises him regardless. The good news is, his minutes are dwindling.
The build around Ben and Joel has been terrible. But it has nothing to do with them personally. Looking at this year alone. We brought in Al Horford. Who thought that was a good idea? Pairing an old center with the League’s best, young, big man in the league instead of going out and bringing in shooters? What exactly are we trying to accomplish here?
The Net Rating with Simmons, Embiid, and Horford on the court is literally negative. And they average under 100 points per 100 possessions when playing together. If that was the big offensive move our front office made this year in thinking that it would translate into a championship they were wrong. They were absolutely destroyed by The Nets the first game back from the All-Star with Al Horford on the court to the tune of being outscored 59-33 when he was on the court and outscoring The Nets 79-45 without.
Championship teams have chemistry. The Sixers have talent with absolutely no chemistry. To blame Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons for the lack of success this year is absolutely ridiculous. The blame falls on the front office to provide and stick with pieces that Joel and Ben can grow with.
The good news is, these two can play together. It’s still February. Alec Burks and Glen Robinson III look like promising bench players. And you still don’t want to face this team at home or in a playoff series. The second half of the season should be fun. It starts to heat up with the Bucks tonight.