The 76ers collapsed. They simply did not look like the dominant team that was on display throughout the regular season. This can partially be attributed to the meniscus injury to Joel Embiid that limited his explosiveness and Danny Green being completely unavailable for Games 4-7. Still, Philadelphia was the favorites, and boy did they disappoint.
Ben Simmons and Embiid just don’t work. I don’t know how many seasons it will take Elton Brand (GM) or Daryl Morey (President) to figure out that this duo simply doesn’t make sense together if we’re talking championship aspirations. The 76ers have yet to reach an Eastern Conference Finals, losing in two Game 7’s that would have sent them there in the past three years. Not to mention a clean 4-0 sweep from the Celtics in the first round of the 2019-20 campaign, and a gentlemen’s sweep in 2017-2018 semis.
I almost feel bad for Simmons and how his troubles shooting the ball have effected him mentally, but his performance this series has been inexcusable. Simmons went from undoubtable All-Star, to bench riding during the 4th quarter because he’s an offensive liability, so what changed? Certainly he’s been reading his fair share of comments from Twitter trolls and hearing the criticism from Chuck and Shaq. You just don’t lose your aggressive edge on the court without having something that’s effecting you mentally.
This was more than ever apparent where in the late stages of the fourth quarter. Ben got by his defender easily with a quick spin to the bucket. Wide open under the rim, what should Ben do? Well Ben would then pass, (Of course!!) to a cutting Thybulle who would miss the shot, but draw a foul. This was a head scratching moment for fans to watch, but I think it showed us how deep Simmons’ shooting scars run. He didn’t even glance at the rim.
Here’s a pretty scary stat to look at, Simmons officially shot the worst free throw percentage (34.2%) in postseason history. He also gets paid in the ballpark of $35 million per year and yet somehow, isn’t on the floor for the final minute during the game-winning possessions, and that just blows my mind. Philly fans look away now, this stat might hurt your soul permanently. In Games 4-7, Simmons played a total of 34 minutes in the 4th quarters of those games. He had ZERO field goal attempts. Wild.
Point blank, Ben Simmons is broken and needs a change of scenery. I don’t think he can handle the pressures of being the guy to depend on for an organization. Even his own coach wants him out of town and spoke about it after the game, saying he’s not sure if Simmons is a championship level point guard. Yikes.
He’d be better suited in a role where he could still play his style of head down, get to the rim and layup or dish basketball. A team that has an established ball handler and with multiple top scoring options already in place. I could see him fitting well with contenders like the Warriors, Clippers, Heat, and possibly the Jazz. This very well could be the end of ‘The Process’.
Photo: (Matt Slocum – AP Photo)
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