According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Ben Simmons‘ time with the Philadelphia 76ers is all but over. Simmons reportedly has no intention of showing up to training camp or suiting up for the franchise again.
A Simmons-less Sixers team could struggle to remain at the top of the Eastern Conference, even with 2021 MVP runner-up Joel Embiid on the roster. The team’s future as title contenders is up in the air. However, there are some positives to take away from Simmons never donning a Sixers uniform again.
Tyrese Maxey Takes The Reigns
Tyrese Maxey has been a young stud for the Sixers since he was drafted by the team last year with the 21st pick. He’s a dynamic scorer, a tough-nosed defender, and a creative ball handler. He was confined to a bench role last season, but with Simmons out of the picture, Maxey will likely be the starting point guard for the team on opening night.
In 8 games as a starter during his rookie campaign, Tyrese Maxey averaged 18.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists while shooting 50% from the field and 33.3% from deep on 3.8 attempts. Those numbers are reasons to be excited for anyone hoping the Sixers remain an elite team without their 3x All-Star guard. Maxey will have every opportunity to display his ability to lead an offense, and there should be little to no doubt that he will prove he’s the right guy for the job.
It’s time for a Shakeup
Shake Milton saw his minutes fluctuate last season due to some consistency problems. Like most microwave scorers, Milton was a walking bucket at times, but there were also moments where he flopped harder than a pancake on a griddle. Averaging 13 points and 3.1 assists last season, Milton was a spark plug for the Sixers whenever they lacked offense. His issues when it came to decision-making made him difficult to rely on despite his knack for putting the ball through the basket.
Milton will be given significant ball-handling duties this season. Whether or not he can effectively run the one remains to be seen. He’ll have the chance to showcase his improvements as a ball-handler this time around. Hopefully, Milton can become for the Sixers what Jamal Crawford was for the Clippers.
Time for Matisse
Having two elite perimeter defenders made the Sixers a very tough team to play against. Matisse Thybulle and Ben Simmons both made an All-Defensive team last season. Now, Thybulle will be given the daunting task of guarding the other team’s best perimeter player.
Thybulle has been an elite defensive talent since he entered the league. He posted defensive win shares of 2.7 last season to go along with a 104.7 defensive rating, a 40.7 steal percentage, and a 36.6 block percentage.
He led the league in steals per 36 minutes with 2.9 and steals per 100 possessions with 3.9. To top it all off with a cherry, he also led the league in deflections per 36 minutes with 5.6. Those are extremely great statistical achievements that support the claim that Thybulle is one of the best defenders in the league.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see him average more than the 20 minutes per game he got last season. His defensive capabilities will be invaluable for the Sixers this year. Every night will be a long one for Thybulle now that he’ll be the one called upon to shut down the Devin Bookers and Kevin Durants of the world, but if anyone is able to take on that amount of defensive pressure, it’s Matisse Thybulle.