The Philadelphia 76ers and star guard Ben Simmons seem like they are headed towards a messy divorce as the team moves forward with trying to grant his trade request. The 25-year old 3-time All-Star has told the franchise that he does not intend to play another game for them in order to get a deal done.
Coach Doc Rivers, who led the team to their first No. 1 seed in 20 years, is hoping that he can convince Simmons to actually stay with the team and that they can win a championship with him.
This is a far cry from what Rivers said immediately after the Game 7 loss in June when he said he was not sure if Simmons can be a point guard on a championship team. This came after the star guard struggled mightily from the foul line in the postseason at 34.2% from the line and he still refused to show any improvement on the offensive end of the floor so it made sense at that moment in time to discuss those issues.
Rivers sat down with ESPN saying he would like to have Simmons back with the team to make another run at a title and he also explained his comments about Simmons after the Game 7 loss:
“Well, I hope we can change that thought,” Rivers said on ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill, and Max on Wednesday morning. “That’s part of our job.”
“That’s not what I said, actually,” Rivers interjected Wednesday when asked about the comment. “This is when narratives … and this is what makes our jobs hard. I actually said when the guy asked, guys, I’m not answering that stuff right now. I don’t even know how to answer that. So what I was talking about was not answering the question. It had nothing to do with Ben.”
So Rivers was asked if Simmons can play for him and win a championship.
“Yeah, all day. All day. He just does so many things, man,” Rivers said, going on to explain how scoring isn’t everything.
There is no doubt that Simmons is a very good player. He does things out on the floor to impact winning in a big way other than his scoring. He is an elite defender and he is an elite playmaker, but there is also no doubt that the one glaring weakness that he has is going to hold him back.
For Simmons to make strides forward, he has got to really improve on that end of the floor. He almost becomes a detriment out on the floor on offense in the playoffs due to that lack of a jumper because everybody packs the paint against him. For the Sixers to truly move forward if Simmons is on the roster, they will need him to show some semblance of a jump shot.
Sixers 3 goals: Georges Niang has to provide stretch shooting off the bench