Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are the leaders on the new school in the NBA’s Eastern Conference
Last season, Embiid emerged after two injury plagued seasons.
That was just the appetizer! This season the 76ers’ center is putting up solid numbers.
For those keeping score at home, Embid’s stats: 26.9 points, 13.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2 blocks.
Ben Simmons is also putting up solid numbers: 16.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game thus far.
For those tardy to the party, Simmons posted an impressive 20-point, 22-rebound, nine-assist performance in the 76ers’ 108-105 win over the New York Knicks last night.
While both players have put up solid numbers, one analyst believes that both Embiid and Simmons won’t last together.
“They’re friends on the court but they don’t hang off the court.” FS1’s Jason McIntyre told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“I’m telling you, I don’t see this being a long-term thing.”
McIntyre likened Embiid and Simmons to the newer version of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant during their Oklahoma City Thunder days.
For those watching at home and needing a refresher: KD and Westbrook put up killer stats individually, but weren’t the same team after the duo along with James Harden appeared in the 2012 NBA Finals and lost to the Miami Heat.
Harden and Durant would end up leaving OKC and Westbrook is still there.
As for Embiid and Simmons? McIntyre believes that Simmons is craving a move to southern California and thinks his relationship with Embiid could play a part in an eventual departure. “We know dating back to before the draft, Ben Simmons loves LA,” McIntyre said.
“Sixers, people crushed me when I said Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were low-key Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant [at the Oklahoma City Thunder].”
Sitting at 28-16 and in fourth place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference standings, the Sixers also benefit from Jimmy Butler who’s numbers actually have dipped since being traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the City of Brotherly Love.
Jimmy Buckets is averaging 18.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Each of those numbers marks his lowest since the 2013-14 season with the Chicago Bulls, which was just his third year in the NBA.
The positive news is that Butler’s scoring and assist numbers have increased to start the calendar year. Through three games in January, he’s averaging 19.7 points with 6.7 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field.
Worth noting: Per a league source – Butler may have a desire to play with the Los Angeles Clippers and “would love” to team up with Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard in Los Angeles.
Butler will also get the opportunity to play against his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves for the first time since he was traded to the Sixers.
As for Simmons and Embiid? For now, they’re under contract with the Sixers.
I’ll have more via Scoop B Radio tomorrow.