If the Sixers don’t acquire Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard this offseason, Tobias Harris needs to go. Harris is the third best option at best on a playoff team. The problem with this team is he’s being forced to be the second option because of Ben Simmons’ poor play offensively. Ben’s offensive struggles are shadowing just how bad Tobias Harris has been for this group. 180 million dollars later, Harris was 2-for-11 shooting with four points at home in a Game 5 collapse against the Hawks.
Daryl Morey has made it clear he is not trading Ben Simmons for a bucket of basketballs, though many believe that’s his worth at the moment. Spending his 25th birthday in the “lab” sparked some heated debates earlier this week. I called into the Mike Missinelli show and asked Mike, “Do you believe we were contenders in the 2018-19 season”. His response was, “yes.”
My point is, it’s not impossible to win with Ben. But the way their money is tied up, Tobias Harris underachieving and just simply not being an All-Star is killing the Sixers. Ben gives you defense, nobody questions that. Him going away in the playoffs is frustrating to say the least, but he did it in 2018-19 against Toronto. When we were “contenders,” according to Mike Missinelli. So his liabilities can be worked around if you bring in more offensive talent to help Joel. I want Ben gone too, but if we can’t get rid of him for enough talent, Harris has to be the guy to leave.
If the Sixers cannot find adequate value for Ben Simmons, then it’s Tobias Harris who must go.
Pair Embiid next to a 30-plus point per game scorer and the Sixers will be legitimate. Aside from Butler/Redick, he hasn’t had chemistry with a guard or even a player enough to dominate a two-man game. Jimmy was the closer, but even he wasn’t a 30-point per game scorer, and look how good they were. Either way, the roster needs a makeover. There is not enough offensive talent on this team.
Two Sixers scored in the second half of Game 5 in the second round, Seth Curry and Joel Embiid. The rest of the roster, Tobias included, came up empty. 350 million dollars going to two players in Harris and Simmons who literally go away and do nothing in crunch time. Ben is an elite defender and if he’s not your second option offensively, somebody has to be. Right now, the Sixers’ money is tied up in a “big three.” The only issue with that is the only person coming up large on both ends is Joel Embiid.
Simmons not dunking the ball in Game 7 is a highlight that will replay rent free in my head. The question marks are inexcusable and hard to run away from. 34.2 percent from the line. Pure fear in the spotlight. That being said, it’s distracting us all from a real issue here. We have an elite defender in Ben. An elite Hall of Fame caliber center in Embiid. And the other chunk of our money is going to an average NBA player at best. Tobias Harris.
The Sixers’ problem all these years is their roster and their formula — with the exception of 2018-19 with Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick. If Philly shopped Simmons for Lillard, Lillard-Harris-Embiid as a big three works because you have two 30+ point per game scorers, and an average third punch. Look at the Bucks. Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo gave you 30-plus, and Jrue Holiday was their average third punch. So Shopping Ben is clearly the best option. That said, if you can’t trade Ben, I’m not sure why people would have a problem with Tobias leaving instead. A lineup of Beal, Embiid, and Simmons (assuming you can give Washington Harris for Beal) may work just as well. Two elite scorers and a lockdown defender.
The question is who to snag? Beal? Lillard? Dame has not made it 100 percent clear that he wants out, so putting all our eggs in one basket could be dangerous. Similar to when we thought LeBron was going to be a 76er. Damian could stay, or just simply choose a different destination. Though he needs to be traded, it’s a players league, so ultimately it will be his decision. The safe move would be to acquire Beal quickly and solidify this roster earlier rather than later.
The gamble is to sit and wait for Dame and his decision as he concludes the Olympic games in Tokyo. I would be all in with an Embiid-Lillard duo. The rest can fill in accordingly. But if he chooses New York for example, Morey/Brand will be stuck signing or trading for average talent at best. That would not make Philadelphia a contender.
It will be a very interesting offseason. Per the Gastroenteritis Blues, Ben Simmons has not been in touch with the organization. They have not been able to get a hold of Ben, which is ironic because neither was Doc Rivers. July 29 is the NBA Draft. It should be an interesting draft and offseason for the City of Brotherly Love.