How does the Philadelphia 76ers’ top duo stack up to other NBA tandems in a few key areas?
The era that the original big three in Boston launched is all but over, as teams like the Lakers, Clippers and Nets all added a player or two to their rosters, forming dynamic duos.
For the Philadelphia 76ers, they have added Al Horford, who is a former All-Star in his own right. However, it is Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid who still steer the ship for the Sixers.
One thing that Simmons and Embiid have working in their favor compared to newer duos is that they have been around each other, both on and off the court. The Brooklyn Nets’ new pairing of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will most likely have to wait a year, as Durant suffered a gut wrenching achilles injury in the Finals.
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Elsewhere, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, have stolen headlines in Los Angeles. Aside from light practice, and workouts, neither duo has played a full season together, so them going through early growing pains to start the season doesn’t seem to be too farfetched. Take the big three in Miami for example.
Certainly Embiid and Simmons, who averaged a combined 42 points and 22 rebounds per game last season, have made a name for themselves, but as there are other tandems in the league with more on their resume, this could be where Simmons, and Embiid lack the most.
The splash brothers in Golden State for instance, who have played together longer, have a combined 11 All-Star game appearances. Stephen Curry has won two league MVPs. Embiid and Simmons have a combined three All-Star appearances and zero MVPs by comparison.
As for the league MVP talk, LeBron in LA, Durant in Brooklyn, and Westbrook and Harden in Houston, and most recently Giannis Antetokounmpo, all hoisted the trophy. With Embiid’s scoring and consistent rebounding, he is poised to earn the feat himself one day.
Next season, out West where most of these duos reside, teams will be battling it out Game of Thrones style. The Lakers, Warriors, Clippers, Rockets and Blazers all have each other to worry about. With Kawhi gone, and Durant missing in action, there aren’t many pairings to be talking about in the Eastern Conference. If the Sixers do make it to the Finals, they will have a battle tested team to go up against.
With both players being 25 or under, the Sixers have one of the youngest star tandems in the league. Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who pose the biggest threat in the East, are slightly older. Aside from the Blazers tandem of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, all other major pairings have a player 30 years or older.
With both Simmons and Embiid securing five-year contract extensions a year apart, they are in position to be one of the best duos the league has seen for years to come.