Should Sixers really consider trading one of their stars?


You probably glanced at the author byline, ready to note down the person’s name given the topic this piece is on. My name is Stephen, I’m a Celtics fan and for some reason, Liam, David, Zach and the rest of the Sixers team have allowed me to write on the Sixers… 

Seriously though, I thought it would be a cool idea for you guys to have content and opinion out there from an outside perspective. I will try my very best to be completely unbiased and fair, but I’m obviously going to have a little fun here and there… Right, enough of that, let’s get to the topic I have on my hands in this one, the whole Simmons/Embiid “to trade or not to trade,” fiasco. 

Firstly, I want to say, even as a Celtics fan, I’m completely fed up of reading the same bi-six monthly headline about how the Sixers could trade one of Embiid or Simmons, or however the media try to spin it. Unless the offer is completely out of this world, the Sixers should obviously keep the two superstars together for however long they can.  

However, from a Celtics fan’s perspective, I would happily see you guys trade one of the guys over the other and that’s Joel Embiid. It’s no secret that the Sixers took the Celtics plan against Embiid in the past offseason when they signed Al Horford and we haven’t managed to replace him, and whilst Theis and Williams look good, they still need a season or two to be a really interesting one-two punch in the league, especially when we have Tacko on the sidelines.  

Going back to what I was saying in terms of them trading either of the two, the whole idea in the first place is just completely stupid and void of logic. The issue with the Sixers isn’t within their top two stars, it’s strictly down to the fact the Sixers have a completely incompetent head coach in charge of the team, and they lack consistent points and impact players off the bench. Outside of Embiid, Simmons and Harris, the team is extremely inconsistent and whilst some have shown flashes of what they might be capable of in seasons to come, they have nothing substantial right now. 

Obviously the recent reports coming out of Cleveland right now have stirred the pot again with this whole story and Sixers Twitter has been a very interesting read throughout the days since the report came out. Many have been arguing whether the team had to trade one of the two away, which one would it be and it’s been fun from a personal perspective to see how each guy is valued by the fans. With all of this in mind, I thought I’d give my thoughts on the two players and then answer that dreaded question. Who does the Sixers trade if they had to trade one of them? 

I’ll start with Ben Simmons and if people were to go back through my tweets, you’d probably find a lot of negative tweets from myself surrounding Simmons. If I’m being truly honest with you guys, I like Simmons. I think he’s a superstar in the league and the media around the league really seem to have it out for him. Whenever he has a game off, they post tweets and articles about it. When other stars around the league have bad games, you may have a tweet saying “Oh, an odd night off for Kawhi Leonard”. 

However, I do believe Ben is very one dimensional. As a rival team, you know he won’t pull up from beyond the arc, so that’s an entire section completely useless in his game and you know how to defend him, or at least have a plan to defend him. I will say, even though he is one dimensional, he dominates through his strengths. He might be one of the best basket drivers I’ve ever seen, truly dominant in the paint and it’s fresh to see from a positional stance because the league is so three point heavy. 

The fact he doesn’t pull up from beyond the arc means defenders will sit inside the arc and give him space, thinking they’re doing the right thing. However, that works against him as it gives him space to drive inside and towards the basket so, even though he is one dimensional, he’s very tricky to defend. I just feel with Simmons that if he had that little extra something in his game, he could truly be exceptional. I’m not saying he should try and add a three point shot to his arsenal. I think he should try and add a jumpshot to his arsenal, a really lethal one and he would truly ascend his game and the Sixers. 

Moving on to Joel Embiid, it pains me to say it, but if I could have any player in the NBA for the Celtics, it would be Embiid and I don’t think it’s particularly close either. Embiid truly is elite and he’s a true superstar in the league right now. He feels like more of a threat and star on the court than Ben does and I’ve always felt it’s harder to shut him down in games than Ben. Also having an elite big man in the paint like Embiid instantly gives the Sixers a huge upper hand over a lot of teams in the league, especially my Celtics.  

However, there’s one thing I hate about Embiid and maybe I’m wrong with this, but whenever he gets shutdown in games, he seems to get really frustrated early, and then tries to force things trying to fix his bad run instead of helping the team out and fixing the bad run by taking better opportunities. Another thing about Embiid is he seems like he has an issue at being there, in the zone, every game. I know every player has off days and take it easier in some games to manage their bodies, but it seems Embiid does that more than some other superstars, but again, maybe I’m wrong with that and if I am, let me know! 

Realistically, the Sixers should never trade either of the two unless some stupid offer came in from another team and it was just too good to turn down, or something else went wrong and one demanded a trade, etc. I truly believe the Sixers can be a true monster in that Eastern Conference but a lack of bench presence and a very incompetent head coach means you’re slowly wasting the talent you currently have. There’s other issues on the team, like some contract decisions and some of the talent they’ve drafted but overall, you have the trio in Harris-Simmons-Embiid to really contest in that East alongside the likes of the Raptors, Bucks and my Celtics.  

You’ve probably noticed I haven’t actually answered the question I mentioned earlier in the piece and I was hoping you guys would forget. If I was going to pick one to trade if I was the Sixers GM, I would pick Ben Simmons. I think Embiid would win the Sixers more games over the season and in the playoffs and as a Celtics fan, I know the hardship of trying to find a great big man, nevermind an elite one like Embiid.  

For me, Embiid seems to have taken over more games than Ben, and shown more character and leadership both on and off the court over Ben. Also, in my opinion, I think you could replace Ben much easier than you could Embiid and still be highly competitive in the league. Replacing him with someone who has the same level of impact on the game in a different kind of way. 

Hopefully this is the start of a successful series and please let me know what you think about this, whether I’ve been too harsh, too nice even, maybe I’ve gotten my opinion of the players wrong or the Sixers situation. Let me know on Twitter (@steveoo242), even if you want to hurl some abuse my way! 

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