Can the Philadelphia 76ers survive Ben Simmons’ absence?
The injury bug has bitten the Philadelphia 76ers once again. For the second time this year, All-Star Ben Simmons has suffered a significant injury that will have him out indefinitely. Although the Sixers defeated the Orlando Magic on Friday night, Ben Simmons fans and the 76ers are in a dubious position.
Some will argue that the team’s offense flowed better as a result of Simmons’ absence. Others will say that the team has a limited chance of advancing playoff rounds without his production. Instead of taking sides in this article, let’s lay out some of the consequences for the upcoming playoff series, should Ben Simmons miss significant time.
What will the Sixers miss?
Ben Simmons is a thoroughbred. He’s been labeled one of the NBA’s fastest players in the open court. His ability to grab a rebound and shoot out like a bullet on a fast break is invaluable. His vision, on that same fast break, is what leads to countless easy baskets. Teammates who have benefited from Simmons’ assists in transition admit that he finds them in certain spots that most skilled guards are unable to do.
On Ben Simmons, Glenn Robinson III said, “I love playing with a pass-first guy, an unselfish guy. It’s great to be able to see a guy that’s looking for his teammates, that’s able to pass, run the floor like that.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Ben Simmons has been in discussion as making the All-Defensive first team. Although he was snubbed from the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year finalists list, Simmons’ deflection rate and overall steal numbers could easily refute their evaluation. Before the coronavirus hit, Simmons was considered a lockdown defender. Since he’s been in the bubble, he hasn’t been as formidable, but in the playoffs he could have regained that tenacity and provided significant stops on opponents’ top wing players.
The third negative impact is that this injury impedes any progress in the team chemistry department. The bond inside the bubble for the 76ers appears to have been solidifying at just the right time. The two All-Stars, Simmons and Embiid, seemed to be building stronger connections on the court and off of it. In an interview with Spike Eskin and Mike Levin on the Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcast, Embiid declared his desire to play his entire career with Ben Simmons. So, now that Ben Simmons is out, any on-court chemistry between the two will have to be delayed.