I have to talk about Ben Simmons. Respectfully, Ben Simmons needs to leave. He was thrown out of Sixers practice yesterday and suspended for tonight’s game shortly after. Most notably, Doc Rivers said that as a team they will welcome him back as soon as he wants to buy into the program, and Joel Embiid said that he and Simmons do not talk. The organization as a whole is sick of his childish antics in a city where that kind of behavior is not tolerated.
I think the Sixers are making the right moves and handling this beautifully. Essentially, from the way I see it, they are pinning Simmons against the players and the organization until he agrees to be a valuable member. I think that Doc using this tactic is very smart, because it will show the players that they are a collective group, and anyone who does not buy into it has every chance to leave. From past seasons, having a team of players who have a good bond and all have the same set of beliefs will cause teams to play beyond their expectations.
At this point, if I am the Sixers front office, I am taking anything I can get for him, with a main focus on first round draft picks. The 76ers have a solid collection of talent so if they are able to get a good defensive player and a solid PG in general, they will be just fine. As much as there is still room for this team to grow, they are already one of the top teams in the East and should have zero problem being a top-tier playoff team this year, so the outright departure of Simmons would not damage them significantly.
Nevertheless, the Sixers go up tonight against a subpar New Orleans team. I give the Pelicans props for building their team with a young collection of talent, but in the end the Sixers are just a better team overall and should win their first game this year. There should be a good indication of what they will look like without Ben, and how they will fare against a legitimate contender in the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.