The Sixers are flooded with storylines from Ben Simmons to tradable assets and much, much more. What’s the latest on the team?
The Market for Ben Simmons Starting to Heat Up
Mere hours away from the start of the annual NBA Draft, trade rumors abound. Particularly, the Sixers have been very involved in the trade market. Since their abrupt exit in the second round, the Sixers have not-so-quietly been shopping All-Star point guard Ben Simmons. Those whispers have begun to grow much louder as the offseason progresses, though. Reports have even begun to leak, citing that Simmons could be on the move on draft night.
News of a potential divorce between Simmons and the Sixers isn’t all too surprising. The lack of growth in Simmons’ offensive game is not becoming of someone drafted as highly as the former first overall pick. Simmons is an all-world talent and one of the premier players in the NBA, but his struggles in the half-court offense have noticeably handicapped the Sixers.
This past playoff run was a prime example of how his relatively limited offensive repertoire negatively affects the team. Throughout the two playoff series played, his reluctance to attempt jump shots was again on full display. Even more disheartening, Simmons also seemed uncharacteristically hesitant to attack the rim.
Built similarly to Giannis Antentekounmpo and LeBron James- tall, strong, and athletic with a handle- Simmons leaves a lot to be desired offensively and doesn’t display the offensive brilliance of James or Antentekounmpo as often as they do.
The Sixers are seemingly over waiting for Simmons to work out his offensive kinks and reports indicate that the all-defensive player may have played his final game as a Sixer.
It’s worth noting that all draft night rumors be taken with a grain of salt. As teams try to offload contracts and/or acquire talent, all sorts of news gets leaked to help ease negotiations. With that being said, there does seem to be legitimate smoke to the Simmons trade buzz. Moving Simmons would massively alter the Sixers’ draft plans, so it is a storyline to monitor closely tonight.
Sixers want to deal first-rounder
The Sixers currently own three draft picks in this year’s draft. One in the first-round and a pair of second-round picks. The additional second-rounder, the 53rd overall pick, was acquired for cash considerations in a trade with New Orleans. Reports indicate the Sixers aren’t thrilled with any of the late-round prospects and are considering dealing their first-round selection.
Although the pick comes in the latter half of the first round, there should still be a fairly strong market for a first-rounder. Especially given Daryl Morey’s history of maximizing trade value. The pick could also be used as a sweetener in a potential Ben Simmons trade. As the time draws near for the Sixers pick, all eyes will be on the team to see if they wind up keeping it.
Matisse Thybulle should be virtually untouchable
Unlike the Sixers’ first-round pick, all-defensive wing Matisse Thybulle should not be included as a sweetener in trade offers. With so many Philly-related trade rumors flying around, Thybulle’s name has been tossed about as if losing him would be no big deal.
Generational defenders like Thybulle don’t come around often, so unless the Sixers are blown away by the return, he should still be a member of the Sixers when the dust settles.
Only in the event that either Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal is acquired should departing with Thybulle be considered. Without him, the vaunted Sixers defense is not so fearsome. Especially if he is packaged with fellow all-defensive player Ben Simmons in a trade.
Expect Morey to move with caution as he discusses trades tonight.
Return of Furkan Korkmaz?
Since the Sixers are shopping their first-rounder, it’s fair to wonder if they consider re-signing reserve guard/forward Furkan Korkmaz.
Korkmaz, 24, played well in his first season under Doc Rivers. The Turkish-born player shot an impressive 45% from the field and 37% from deep. All things considered, the team couldn’t have asked him to do much more.
He would occasionally break the teams out of shooting slumps with his hot scoring off the bench and even proved to be a capable defender in stretches. If the Sixers are going to pass on a first-round replacement, perhaps it would be best for them to simply bring Korkmaz back around.
Don’t sleep on the international pool
As the Sixers ponder how to spend their pair of second-rounders, expect them to consider the international pool of draft-eligible players. Selecting a player that may not come stateside right away provides the team with much-needed roster flexibility and gives them another player to dangle in trade talks.
Additionally, the Sixers are no strangers to the international pool. The team has drafted its fair share of foreign players over the last few years. Look for them to once again have an interest in more than just domestic talent.
NBA Draft Info
The first round of the 2021 NBA Draft will be broadcast on ESPN and ABC. The second round is airing only on ESPN. However, both rounds will be available for streaming on the Watch ESPN app. It will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.