Has “The Process” come to an end for the Sixers?
Following the Philadelphia 76ers‘ 103-96 loss in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night, fans and analysts alike have called for the breakup of franchise cornerstones Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. After an MVP-caliber season from Embiid and a stellar individual playoff run for the big man, the support for the Cameroonian is solid, but Philadelphia appears fed up, and done with Simmons.
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From the non-existent jump shot to his notorious free throw shooting struggles through this postseason, trade rumors and demands are flying for the former three-time All-Star and 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Doc Rivers on Guard’s Future: ‘I Don’t Know the Answer to That Question’
Simmons did his thing passing and rebounding the ball, while playing terrific defense, but the scoring, in particular the historically abysmal free throw shooting, wore on fans and Philadelphia followers and has been the primary attack in the rumors and demands for a summertime trade.
New York Times NBA reporter Marc Stein feels that given Simmons’ age and solid attributes in other aspects of the game, a trade could do wonders for the former number one overall pick.
Former 76ers legend Charles Barkley called out Simmons’ for what he perceived as a fear of scoring on “Inside the NBA”.
Simmons nearly won the Defensive Player of the Year award this season and posted four triple-doubles this year, but clearly still has a lot of work to do to have a better all-around game.
Simmons Gives up an Open Dunk for Ill-Advised Pass
At one point midway through the fourth quarter and the Sixers holding a one-point lead, Simmons appeared to have a wide-open lay-in or dunk, but, perhaps overthinking the situation, dished off to Matisse Thybulle. The second-year guard received the dish from Simmons and was fouled in the act of shooting, but instead of an automatic two points, the Sixers had to settle for a split pair of free throws.
“I’ll be honest, I thought the turning point was you know when we — I don’t know how to say it, but I thought the turning point was when we had an open shot and we made one free throw and we missed the other and then they came down and scored,” Embiid said.
The Sixers have three unrestricted free agents heading into the off-season with Danny Green, Mike Scott, and Dwight, but it seems that right now, the biggest rumors will be surrounding their number one overall pick from 2016.