The times, they are a-changin’ in Philadelphia.
There’s a new head coach at the helm in Doc Rivers, a new president of basketball operations in Daryl Morey, and only the unknown left for us to wonder what’s going to happen next. What’s the next step for the Philadelphia 76ers?
At this point, it’s safe to say; nothing’s off the table. Even The Process is in jeopardy, as it should be. That’s what bringing in a guy like Morey – a GM with a notorious reputation of reshaping NBA teams behind shooting analytics – says about an organization, it’s the kind of move that says a team makeover is in order.
Ben Simmons -Joel Embiid’s Inevitable Breakup
And to be frank, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons haven’t been able to make it work. The peak of their run was back-to-back 51+ win seasons followed by back-to-back Eastern Conference Semifinal exits and with the rest of the Conference vastly catching up to the top-tier teams; it’s time to shake things up.
But this isn’t going to be a situation where Morey calls all the shots, right? Doc will have his input; hence there’s a reason why his swift hiring came first. Therefore, expect some moves to have Rivers’ name written all over it, and in my opinion, this should be one of its greatest examples.
If the Sixers want to get ahead of this breakup as soon as possible while maximizing its talent, right now is the best opportunity to bring in a new pillar of the future. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert should be a primary offseason target. He fits the bill.
Joel Embiid- Rudy Gobert Blockerbuster Deal
If the Sixers send Embiid to Utah in exchange for the defensive stalwart, it gives Rivers an established defensive anchor for now and the future. Gobert, 28, made significant strides throughout the past few years and nearly duplicated his 2018-19 regular-season averages of 15.9 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks this season while averaging a career-high 13.5 rebounds a night.
Gobert gives Rivers the DeAndre Jordan-type of center he loved so much in Los Angeles. He’s a two-time Defensive Player of the Year recipient who can set hard screens, protect the rim, defend the pick-and-roll, and most importantly is an upgrade at the center position in a potential series against the Miami Heat.
The word’s out. Bam Adebayo is a force to be reckoned with, just ask the Boston Celtics. Still, there’s plenty more work to be done. This move isn’t going to immediately send the Sixers to the NBA Finals; however, it’s a precursor for a potential championship-contending team.
Why Joel Embiid-Rudy Gobert Swap Makes Sense For Both Sides
If the Sixers are going to make that kind of transformation, they’re going to need an overpowering center they can rely on, unfortunately, Embiid isn’t that guy anymore. This year, his attitude was disruptive, his demeanor in Orlando was disconcerting and Philly doesn’t have enough salary to add the pieces he needs.
Philly would also retain Gobert’s bird rights when his contract expires in 2021, meaning the Sixers can go over the salary cap to re-sign him. And if you’re the Jazz, you have, at least, a two-year window to outmatch Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets.
Embiid puts them right where they want to be – equipped with one of the league’s most dominating big men to contain another. It would even give them a fighting chance against the likes of Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and the champion Los Angeles Lakers.