After an odd draft in which the Sixers willingly traded all but two of their draft picks. Elton Brand is still standing strong on the notion that it didn’t make sense to add 5 young players to an established team. How established is this team though? Currently, on the roster, the Sixers have Embid, Simmons, Smith, Bolden, Thybulle (rookie), Shayok (rookie) and Shake Milton(two-way).
From here o out, every move that Elton Brand does has to be calculated. If Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris actually do decide to leave then what’s the next move? Is it really sign big names or bust? No, it isn’t.
For some odd reason, the tandem of Embid and Simmons is highly criticized instead of praised. To a certain degree, it’s completely understandable, Simmons has yet to develop a reliable shot to add to his game. Fortunately, there’s another part of Simmons’ game that continues to grow. He’s a pretty good ball distributor and is very quick when running in transition. As for Embid, well, we all know he is arguably the best big man in the game right now.
Those are two solid foundational pieces to build on IF you build around them correctly. Simmons and Embid both need players that can spread the offense and shoot from three. Cue in J.J. Redick. They also need Simmons to become what Butler is or was for them. That’s a player that can create his own shot consistently to open up the post for Embid. If Simmons can become that then this tandem is one of the deadliest in the East.
Joel Embid is only 25-years old while Ben Simmons is only 22, both have their best basketball days ahead of them. I understand that Butler and Harris are great compliments for them and give this team the best options to win a title right now but what about down the line? Sure, Harris is also very young and could develop well alongside the Sixers duo but the cost may be too high in his case.
The problem here is that the Sixers brass is stuck on winning now, which is great but what about after? You have to place young players besides your core that will be able to grow with them and another plus is that they’re cheaper. I fear for the approach that the front office has taken this offseason for the simple fact that what if Butler and Harris leave? You can’t rush a championship team but there is a right way to do it.
Look at the Miami Heat team that Pat Riley built with James, Wade, and Bosh for example. The entire roster was imploded with the exception of Haslem. Riley built around his core with the right players to complement his stars. It seems as if Brand is taking that approach as well but it’s a bit riskier in his case because of the simple fact that Butler and Harris both want the max.
When its all said and done, this offseason will be one of the most interesting offseason that we’ve seen for the Sixers organization in quite some time. Let’s just hope it’s for the better.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports