After a heartbreaking end to a playoff run that fans felt was destined to be the one that ended the NBA Finals drought, the Sixers find themselves entering the offseason at a crossroads. All signs point towards a potential trade involving Ben Simmons, but Daryl Morey has a lot of thinking to do. The big red button is just an inch away from being pushed, but there are a few things complicating matters.
First and foremost is the NBA Draft. Now just a couple of weeks away, the Sixers will go into the event holding picks 28 & 50. The bottom of the first-round is usually a gamble no matter who is being selected. What they do with those picks will likely come down to whether or not Ben Simmons is moved by the time the Sixers are on the clock, and whether or not those selections could be used in partnership with the Aussie to potentially lure a superstar to the City of Brotherly Love.
With the team being on the cusp of reaching the NBA Finals again, there’s no doubting that they’re in win-now mode. Logically, teams looking to offload draft capital in exchange for the three-time All Star will find themselves going back to the drawing board. While there are some enticing prospects in this year’s crop, it’s hard to imagine an attainable one being able to push the Sixers to that next level and replace Simmons, who despite his offensive flaws, is clearly among the best defenders in the league.
On that same note, Philadelphia needs to tread lightly if there is a plan to spend this year’s picks in the Draft itself.
Before we even get to thinking about potential selections and the butterfly effect pertaining to them, there’s the Elephant in the room of whether Simmons will even be playing at PG should he return to the Sixers next season. The argument of a potential move back to a traditional PF role can absolutely be made and it may actually help from an offensive standpoint given that he would have far fewer ball-handling responsibilities. If this is the mindset, then one way or another, they’d have to find someone to run the offense.
Moving those picks and a couple of players for a solid league-proven guard makes sense, but only if there is a real fundamental belief that a move to forward will help negate some of the flaws possessed by Ben Simmons. On the other side of the coin, the Sixers would potentially elevate his trade value since what was once dangled in front of teams has now been promptly ripped away, opening those discussions back up again but giving the team some more leverage.
If the trade market is quiet, though, then Morey may have to take a shot on a prospect. The drafting of some frontcourt insurance for Joel Embiid would potentially hint that Simmons is going to stay on the roster, or at the very least, be directly exchanged for a player who can run the point, potentially lowering his trade value due to the fact that suitors will know they’re going to have to go big or go home if they do want to move him on.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Sixers move their picks on Draft night, but if they do keep their picks and take a swing at a point-guard, or even a power forward, it could potentially reveal their hand for the remainder of the offseason.
Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire