The 76ers are desperately missing Ben Simmons (12/20/21)
The Sixers currently hold a record of 15–15, and they are the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. Two months into the season, Simmons has yet to take the court for the Sixers, as he still wants out of Philly. His holdout has negatively affected the team.
Simmons was arguably the NBA’s best defender last season and should’ve won the Defensive Player of the Year Award over Jazz center, Rudy Gobert.
Last season, when Simmons was still on the team, the Sixers had the second-best defensive rating in the league only behind the Lakers.
This season, with Simmons off the court, the team is currently 19th in defensive rating, and it has led to a massive drop-off in terms of defensive play.
The Sixers were fourth-best in points allowed per game last season, and this season they are placed in 13th.
Opponents are having an easier time scoring from anywhere on the court. A year ago, the Sixers were top ten in both opponent’s three-point percentage and two-point percentage. This season, they are 20th and 12th.
Offensively, this team has taken a major dip in production. While Simmons has never been an elite scorer by any means, his crafty playmaking provided so much for the team’s offense.
The Sixers were averaging the ninth most points per game in the league last season with Simmons as their primary ball-handler. This season, the Sixers are averaging the 24th most amount of points per game.
Simmons’ ability to dish the ball out to his teammates got everyone heavily involved within the offense, which resulted in a more cohesive offensive unit.
While Tyrese Maxey is showing a drastic amount of growth in his second season, he is more of a scoring point guard rather than a facilitator, and because of this, they’ve had to rely on different players to handle the ball in Tobias Harris and Seth Curry.
One major issue that has gone unnoticed, has been the team’s ability to rebound the ball. They are currently dead last in offensive rebounds and 26th in defensive rebounds.
Behind Joel Embiid and former backup center, Dwight Howard, Simmons was the team’s third-best rebounder averaging 7.2 per game.
At this point during the season, we shouldn’t expect Simmons to come back and play for the Sixers. The front office needs to try their best and ship Simmons before the trade deadline in February, or else it will be a disastrous season for this squad, and another year of Embiid’s prime will be wasted.