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Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons

Written by Jonathan Lidskin

Year after year, we have seen the Philadelphia 76ers come up short in the playoffs. Throughout this period of time, many fingers have been pointed as to why the Sixers haven’t gotten over the edge. We’ve seen Brett Brown get blamed for a conference semifinal loss against the Celtics. We’ve seen the Sixers bench get blamed for the lack of success in the current season. While these are parts to the team that can be better, they aren’t the main problem. The main problem is that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons cannot play together. It has nothing to do with their chemistry, but their playing styles don’t fit together well. It is inevitable that the Sixers will have to trade 1 of their 2 stars and that trade might come as soon as this offseason. The question: which one?

Why keep Embiid?

Joel Embiid has been vital to the Sixers rebuild. He was the third pick of the 2014 NBA draft and has been labeled as a superstar since entering the league. The 7 foot center at times looks like the most dominant player in the league, but there are also times when he looks like he isn’t even trying. The Sixers reason to keep Embiid over Simmons is that they would hope that Embiid’s work ethic gets better. There are times when Embiid looks extremely fatigued on the court in a long stint. He needs to find a way to motivate himself in the offseason to get in better shape and he can become that dominant player we see throughout the season. Now, this would mean that Embiid has to start eating right. He’s been seen many times eating cheeseburgers before the game, so that would obviously have to stop. Embiid can definitely change his habits and become a top 5 player in the league, but the question is does he want to? He was seen in tears after last year’s game 7 loss to the Raptors and many people thought that would motivate him to fix his habits and get in shape. He has not, however, and there might not be another chance for him this offseason. If he does change his habits and the Sixers stick with him, there’s a chance he could lead them to a championship.

Why keep Simmons?

Ben Simmons has been one of the more interesting players in the NBA in the past decade. He’s a 6’10 point guard that is almost impossible to guard for his position. He is also over 2 years younger than Embiid so keeping him could mean a longer championship window. The other upside to Simmons is that when Joel Embiid has been out with an injury, Simmons’ numbers go up significantly. In an article posted by NBA.com on January 20th, a graphic displayed that Simmons’ points per game, field goal percentage and rebounds per game had gone up since Embiid had been out with an injury. So if Simmons is as dominant as he is, why doesn’t he get more recognition? The answer is that in his career, Simmons has only made 2 three pointers in an era where the 3 point shot has been used a lot more than other eras. This stat is massively overrated because of the style of play in the NBA today. When Simmons has the lane cleared out, he is arguably one of the most dominant players in the league. He will have to develop a respectable jump shot, but that can be done if taught well by a coach. With a decent jump shot, Simmons can win a championship for the Sixers.

Who should the Sixers keep?

Both of these players will be superstars for years to come, but if the Sixers want the best shot of winning a championship they should keep Ben Simmons. His numbers when Embiid is off the floor say it all. He is a dominant force when the lane is open and he is also a better passer and better defensively than Embiid is. His offensive ability reminds me a lot of Giannis when he is able to get in the open floor. He does not have as good of a jump shot as Giannis does, and he needs to work hard at it, but he can one day develop a jump shot that is consistent enough to be a top tier NBA player and win the Sixers a championship.

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