I apologize for the lack of content from me as I’ve spent the past week watching the Eagles win the Super Bowl, then partying all week in the city and attending the parade. After some rest and recovery, I’ve made it back and we need to look at what our Sixers are doing.
Ben Simmons is now being shoved, by the media, into second on the Rookie of the year scale behind Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz. I can’t believe that we’re going to deal with this again after having Dario Saric lose out to Malcolm Brogdon last year. Saric has the better season and better stats, as does Simmons, but in the end, everyone looked at the Bucks and because they made the playoffs, Brogdon got the award. This season, Simmons is averaging three less points per game than Mitchell, on three less shots per game and Mitchell takes six three pointers a game. While you can argue that Ben has no outside game, he doesn’t have to have one, yet. Simmons averages four more points and four more assists per game, so where exactly is Mitchell the better player? If Ben took three more shots per game, he’s averaging the same 19 points that Mitchell is. It’s not really a discussion and shouldn’t be, but there’s no way the national media will give any recognition to the individual Sixers for at least two more years. Simmons should be rookie of the year and there’s no question about it, but we’ll have to wait and see what the voters think.
Joel Embiid is gearing up to play in his 44th game tonight. That’s out of 54 games so far this year. Quite an accomplishment for a guy that hasn’t played in a few years. He’s averaging almost 32 minutes per game and the stats reflect just how good he is. Twenty points to go along with eight rebounds, just under three blocks and one steal per game. His rebounding numbers should be and will be higher as he starts to maintain a presence down in the post, rather than spending some of his time on the perimeter. Could we ask more of Joel this year? No. Being healthy and productive is what everyone has waited patiently for and they’ve been rewarded this year. He’s about to. Be starting the All-Star Game this weekend and has to be considered one of the top three centers in the league right now. Here’s hoping the health continues and as he continues to get in to better game shape, his stats will keep getting better.
Moving at the deadline…but going nowhere:
The trade deadline, this past week, was eagerly anticipated in the city, although it was subdued as the Eagles dominated all of the talk this week. How did the GM respond? By doing nothing. Is that the best move? Absolutely. The best that Colangelo can do is to not screw up the team in hopes of making himself look better. He succeeded by not going in and getting rid of picks or players this past week and that is a good thing. Would everyone like to see Jerryd Bayless on another team? Absolutely, but there’s no one willing to take him on. He’s overpaid, he’s under-performed and he’s a waste on defense. So, why would anyone else want that?
The big news for Philly fans was that Lou Williams signed an extension with the Clippers and I, for one, couldn’t be happier. He’s a gunner and is having the best year of his career, but he’s on the wrong side of thirty years old and won’t be here to help when the Sixers are ready to compete for a title in three years.
The other “big thing” for the Sixers is the report that Marco Belinelli is going to sign with them after being bought out by the Hawks. His 37% from three-point land isn’t great, but he’ll be a good addition as a shooter to the second team with his height and ability as the two-guard on the second unit. Where he’ll make a big difference is his 92% free throw shooting at the end of close games. He’s a threat and having him on the floor at the end of the game with JJ Reddick gives the Sixers two very good free throw shooters to help close out games. His salary isn’t off the charts and he seems to be a good fit for this team, at this time.
The Fultz fundamentals:
The Markelle Fultz question became very clear this week when Bryan Colangelo spoke of the rookie guard. That, my friends, is sarcasm. BC couldn’t give an answer, as if he ever does, in regard to if and when Fultz would play this year. Having shoulder issues is a big deal for basketball players and shooting, but now we’re all lead to believe, by speculation, that Fultz’s problem is mental. He looks athletic and everything seems to be going well in the drills and practice, but then we hear that he can’t shoot outside of the paint. It’s frustrating, but BC isn’t going to tell anyone anything, because he’s probably as clueless as he’s always been. Fultz should be playing, period. Getting on the floor, in games and getting back to doing what he’s done his whole life could clear up his head so he’s not thinking about every little thing he does. Just play the game and even as a ball moving and inside scoring threat, he’d be valuable to the team. The other thought is that sitting out a year helped Simmons and Embiid, so what’s the harm? It’s the frustration with upper management and their evasiveness that really is bothering.
A playoff run?
Of the top ten teams in the Eastern Conference, the only team that the Sixers should worry about it the Cavaliers when it comes to the playoffs. Currently, the Sixers are the 8th seed and that would put them against the Raptors in the first round. Not scary at all. The Celtics? They’re a great story this year and Kyrie is a great player, but as the season has gone on, the Sixers have become a better team. Having a healthy lineup come playoff time, the Sixers could beat them. The Cavaliers are currently in third, but with the way they blew up the team at the deadline, you have to worry about them. They got younger, better defensively, more athletic, and better offensively. They also have a guy named Lebron James on their team and if history holds true, then he’ll be in the Finals, again. It’s the only thing that he knows. With the team the way it is and, hopefully, adding Fultz to the rotation, the Sixers could actually make a lot of other teams nervous come playoff time.
The fuss and aggravation over Robert Covington needs to stop. He is what he’s always been and it’s getting old, having to discuss it over and over. He’s not going to be a 20 point per game guy. He’s getting you 13 points and 6 rebounds. That’s what he’s always done and it’s what he’ll continue to do. He can erupt, as anyone can, for a good 20 or 25 point game, but he’s doing what he was signed to do. Leave him alone. They’re all not going to be stars.