When the Philadelphia 76ers made the splashy moves in the offseason, everyone knew that shooting was not going to be their strength. They do have guys who can shoot such as Josh Richardson, Mike Scott, Mathisse Thybulle, James Ennis, Furkan Korkmaz, and Al Horford at times.
Their strength was going to be in their size. Richardson is their smallest starter and he's 6' 6". So we assumed they would be able to be great on the defensive end and juggernauts in the paint offensively.
But as this season is reaching it's halfway point, we have seen little to no effort from the Sixers to impose their size on their opponents. We have seen flashes of what this team could be, but only against the Celtics, Raptors and Bucks. They have seemingly been sleep walking through this season.
So with a report coming out that the Sixers are looking to make a trade to add shooting, it brings up many questions.
Everyone's favorite thing to talk about with the Sixers is whether or not Ben Simmons will finally begin to shoot jump shots. Here's a little news flash, He's not. So until he does, don't hold your breath.
This has not only caused questions from the media, but from one particular guy in the locker room as well. All season, Joel Embiid has been harping on the fact that he wants his teammates to shoot more. That them shooting will make his job easier.
But people are blindly agreeing with him because he has the potential to be one of the most dominant forces in the league. And I use the word "potential" because he hasn't reached that status yet, regardless of what he has accomplished thus far into his career.
Obviously, he's talking about Ben when he's talking about shooting. But that isn't Ben's strong suit. If Joel doesn't like it, then he is going to be the one who is going to have to figure out to play alongside Ben, and not the other way around.
Simmons has already made an All-Star team and signed a max contract playing the way he does, so good luck getting him to change his ways.
Instead of breaking down Ben's game and talking about his weaknesses, let's take a look at Joel and how his play has negatively affected his teammates this season.
Just take a look at those numbers. He is on pace to shoot 800 jump shots this season. How does a guy who leads the league in post-ups, have that much of a discrepancy in jump shots to shots near the rim?
Now it is possible that this is all Brett Brown's fault. Maybe he's telling Joel to shoot more jump shots. But that just doesn't make any sense. Joel is a force in the paint and should be living there, similar to the way Shaq did. Forcing guys to either double team him in the post or foul him.
The difference here is that Joel is an exceptional free throw shooter, so shooting jump shots all day is helping nobody.
Now I understand his frustration with not having a great team of shooters. It does make his job harder because he will receive double teams. But that's what happens when you're this talented, you will get double teamed. It's on him to figure out how he can be better in those situations.
You don't blame your teammates for their lack of shooting, you find a way to make it work. You don't cry every time you go on a losing streak, you work more with your teammates in practice and in the film room.
There's no reason to come out to the media and feed into everything that will be talked about on that trash network ESPN. All you're doing is adding fuel to the fire.
But if that's what he wants to do, then maybe it's time to make a decision on Joel.
All the talk has been about adding a shooter. But until the Sixers prove they can play with the roster currently constructed, adding another piece just makes it all the more difficult.
I personally don't think they should make any moves at all. This may sound crazy, but the only trade that should be considered should be with Joel.
Let's speak hypothetically for a second about a team built around Ben Simmons. He is one of the best dribble and drive players this league has ever seen. He can get to the basket at will against many guards in the league, or he can drive and kick it out to anyone on a dime.
So the ideal team to build around Ben would be a team full of shooters. Joel has not stopped talking about his buddy Jimmy Butler since his departure, so let's send him there in this scenario.
A trade for Joel would demand a lot, but the Heat have the pieces to do it. They could send Joel and a couple of draft picks (Heat have virtually none) for Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Kelly Olynyk, and Derrick Jones Jr. It sounds like a haul, and it is, but that's what it would have to take for both teams to make an even trade financially.
Joel would be in the spotlight of Miami, and he would be playing alongside his best friend in the league. Their city would love his big personality, and Joel would give them a show.
The Ben and Joel duo has worked so far when you look at how much success they've had so quickly. But it's the internal disfunction that may be what tears them apart.
Elton Brand has made some good trades in his young tenure, but making a trade for a shooter this season doesn't seem like the right answer. Let this team that you've constructed play itself out this season. If they lose to the Bucks or Lakers or Clippers then so be it. Sometimes you just aren't good enough to win a championship.
But if it comes down to a trade in the offseason, I'd look to build around Ben Simmons and not Joel Embiid.
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