Good morning 76ers fans. This is a quiet time for the Sixers, but it could immediately get loud if president of basketball operations Daryl Morey makes a move.
No matter what the Sixers do this offseason, the No. 1 question is what to do with Ben Simmons: stay or go?
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A Simmons backer
Apparently, not everybody is as down on Simmons as Philadelphia fans. We spoke to an NBA scout who has a deep knowledge of the Sixers, and he remains in Simmons’ corner. The scout, who requested anonymity, spoke of Simmons in glowing terms.
“I would be damned to give up on him and not get superior talent back,” the scout said.
The scout conceded that Simmons will have to not only want to come back, but have the ability to play through any criticism.
“It depends on how emotionally tough he is,” the scout said. “If he is going to get beat up and booed when he touches the ball, how will he handle that? But you look at him and he is a triple-double machine.”
The scout says what many others have suggested, that Simmons’ best position isn’t point guard.
“To me Ben is a point forward and you can run offense through him,” he said. “I don’t like him as a primary ball handler, but he is a big wing who can make plays and run the pick and roll.”
The scout said that the ideal person to run the Sixers offense is Kyle Lowry, who made $30.5 million for Toronto last season and will be entering free agency.
The scout said he doesn’t feel Lowry is a $30 million-type player at age 35, but that he can still be highly effective if he came to the Sixers. Lowry is from Philadelphia, starring at Cardinal Dougherty and then Villanova before beginning a 15-year NBA career that has included an NBA championship in 2019 with the Raptors and six All-Star appearances.
“I would move heaven and earth to try to bring him home,” the scout said of Lowry. “He would be a natural for this team, a strong leader, and somebody who could take over the ballhandling load.”
A key for everything is if Simmons can bounce back from the postseason, where he shot just 15-for-45 from the foul line in the seven-game Eastern Conference semifinal series loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
“The guy is an All-Star-caliber player,” the scout said of Simmons. “He will never be the greatest shooter, but he does a whole lot for a team and I would not give up on him yet.”
Keith Pompey wrote about Danny Green coming out and publicly defending Simmons, saying that fans should give him “that respect and that support.”
After Green’s remarks criticizing Sixers fans for their treatment of Ben Simmons, David Murphy wrote that both Green and his critics would benefit from a little mutual understanding
Mike Sielski writes that Dario Šarić should have personified the Sixers’ Process. Instead, although injured in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, he had been a major contributor to the Phoenix Suns’ success.
It’s one thing to point out his lack of success at the free-throw line, but did the ESPYs go overbroad in making fun of Simmons?
Former Sixers coach Larry Brown received the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award.
Thybulle thrives in exhibition opener
While Simmons has declined to play in the Olympics this summer for Australia, Sixers wing Matisse Thybulle is competing for the Boomers, and he enjoyed a strong showing in Saturday’s 87-84 exhibition win over Argentina in Las Vegas.
In 23 minutes, 55 seconds off the bench, Thybulle had 15 points, shooting 6-for-9, including 3-for-3 from 3.
He also had four steals and three blocked shots.
As a second-team All-NBA defender, Thybulle was dominant on that side of the floor this year. His offensive game still needs plenty of refining. For instance, in the playoffs he hit 11-of-34 three-pointers (32.3%).
If he can improve that part of his game, then Thybulle will likely see more playing time. As it is now, opponents are giving him the three-point shot.
Playing this summer in the Olympics should enable Thybulle to continue to develop his game, especially from the perimeter.
Here are some Thybulle highlights from Australia’s exhibition win, courtesy of the Sixers.
Game 4: Wednesday, Phoenix at Milwaukee, 9 p.m. ABC
Game 5: Saturday, Milwaukee at Phoenix, 9 p.m. ABC
Game 6: Tuesday, July 20, Phoenix at Milwaukee, 9 p.m., ABC*
Game 7: Thursday, July 22, Milwaukee at Phoenix, 9 p.m., ABC*
July 19: Deadline for early-entry players to withdraw from the NBA draft (5 p.m.).
July 29: NBA draft.
Aug. 2: Teams can begin negotiating with free agents (6 p.m.).
Aug. 6: Teams can begin signing free agents (12:01 p.m.).
Aug. 8-17: MGM Resorts NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Passing the rock
Question: “I think the league should limit how many times Embiid — or any player — can hit the floor. After the third time, it is delay of game. You also can only argue a referee’s call three times. After that, technical foul. The Sixers’ games devolved into a never-ending self-inflicted drama. Ordinary calls became overblown. Fans chanted Refs You Suck like it was part of the Process. Team needs a few good men, not the divas it has now.” — John Quinn from Facebook.
Answer: There is a lot there, John, and thanks for your input. As for Embiid, I agree that he has to use more discipline. Somebody weighing (at least) 280 pounds the way he does, is going to get hurt on one of those falls. There is a difference between hustling and being reckless and Embiid is often the second of those two. I wouldn’t agree with your delay of game suggestions because keeping track of people falling would just make the game even longer. I just think from a health standpoint, it’s not a good way to play. As for arguing a ref’s call three times, that would never pass, from either the players or coaches, and would be difficult to keep track of, but less complaining would be appreciated by most, if not all, fans.