The Philadelphia 76ers, without Ben Simmons for the foreseeable future (if at all), have other issues to address if the organization desires to contend in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia 76ers haven't advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2001 - when Allen Iverson willed the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals. As all the focus remains on what will happen with Ben Simmons, there are a few things the Philadelphia 76ers need to address. Let's examine.
Philadelphia 76ers 2021
Finishing 49-23 a year ago, and losing in the second round to Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers suffered a summer of non-stop Philadelphia 76ers criticism. While most of the criticism was directed at Ben Simmons, the Philadelphia 76ers front office also caught a lot of heat. Philadelphia is a very impatient town when it comes to its teams, and many fans would have traded Ben Simmons for a cheese steak and a soft pretzel.
Many have the Philadelphia 76ers finishing no higher than fourth in the Eastern Conference given all the disarray, and unless Daryl Morey and Elton Brand receive comparable talent for Ben Simmons, it appears the predictions won't be far off. Taking a 6'10" superior athlete with great ball handling and playmaking ability out of the floor will show Philadelphia 76ers fans why the front office is taking its time attempting to replace the 25 year old three time NBA All-Star who has been named to the All Defensive first team twice. What are Philadelphia 76ers issues sans Ben Simmons?
#3 What is Tobias Harris in the Philadelphia 76ers offense exactly?
Tobias Harris was close to a 50/40/90 year (51/39/89), and averaged almost 20 points per game, yet there's something missing. Tobias Harris should be a perennial NBA all-star, and maybe it's his demeanor that keeps him under the radar. Who knows at this point? Philadelphia 76ers fans expect a lot more than 20 points a game when he's due 36 million this season, and whether fans are correct or not, Tobias Harris has to step up this season and make more plays if Simmons does not return. If he doesn't, and Simmons doesn't play, Philadelphia 76ers fans will voice their displeasure in loud decibles.
#2 Who will run the point?
Tyrese Maxey is a buffer of sorts for the Philadelphia 76ers front office. Doc Rivers inserted Maxey into the lineup vs. the Atlanta Hawks, and Tyrese Maxey was able to almost score at will off isolation. He is super athletic and could develop into the point guard the Philadelphia 76ers need to at least compensate as much as possible in Ben Simmons stead. In two NBA Summer League games, Maxey scored 52 points and shot the ball with confidence. Tyrese Maxey looks like a stud ready to explode, and he could be the silver lining the Philadelphia 76ers need this very second. Look for that to be the case. Tyrese Maxey looks can't miss.
#1 Joel Embiid's health
This is a big concern for the Philadelphia 76ers regardless of what's being said. With all the Ben Simmons uncertainty, if Joel Embiid goes down, the Philadelphia 76ers season will be a complete wash. There is no way the team will be able to replace 29 points and 11 rebounds from Embiid, and while the Philadelphia 76ers aren't worried about the slight meniscus tear suffered in Game 4 vs. the Hawks, Joel Embiid's injury history is noted. The franchise will be at a complete loss if Embiid goes down, so hopefully he will finish this season healthy, and the Philadelphia 76ers will remain formidable in the Eastern Conference.
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