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If the right offer doesn’t come, could Ben Simmons still be on this roster at playoff time? | Sixers Mailbag

The Inquirer's Keith Pompey also explains why the Sixers are not better without Simmons.

The Sixers' Ben Simmons playing defense during practice on Oct. 18.
The Sixers' Ben Simmons playing defense during practice on Oct. 18.Read moreJOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer

SALT LAKE CITY — Long time, no chat. After a break, it’s time to restart the weekly 76ers mailbag.

Why? Because I missed answering your questions on a weekly basis, and there’s a lot of Sixers news to talk about.

So each week, followers may submit questions to be answered.

Missed out on the party this week? No worries. Submit question(s) for next time by following me on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers and tweeting your inquiry with the hashtag #PompeysMailbagFlow.

Question: Are the Sixers better off without Ben Simmons at the moment? — @Yuhserr

Answer: What up, Yuhhserrr? Well … um … nope! I’m saying no if we’re talking about a locked-in Ben Simmons who is ready to contribute to the team. Let’s face it, the Sixers don’t have anyone on the roster who can do what Simmons does. He can play point guard, backup power forward, small-ball center and guard all five positions.

I know that he shies away from shooting on the perimeter, struggles from the foul line and gets exposed in the postseason. But we’re talking about the regular season. Last I checked, he was selected to the last three All-Star games and was a two-time All-Defense selection.

Now, they’ll be better off without him if he comes back with a funky attitude , doesn’t want to engage with teammates and goes through the motions during games. But if he’s committed to helping the Sixers, they’re better with him.

The problem is, I don’t see his situation with the Sixers improving enough for him to play for the team.

» READ MORE: Sixers fine Ben Simmons, again, for not making road trip

Question: Does Matisse Thybulle have COVID-19 or is he just a close contact? — @thybulleszn

Answer: Thanks for the question. Initially, he was in quarantine for being in close contact with Isaiah Joe, who had tested positive. They sit next to each other in the locker room. They also sat next to each other during the Sixers’ 103-98 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Nov. 3.

But Thybulle eventually tested positive while in quarantine. That’s why he has yet to return to play. Tuesday’s matchup against the Utah Jazz at the Vivint Center will mark the sixth straight game he’ll miss as he remains in the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Question: If the Sixers don’t get the right offer, is there a chance Ben is still on this roster at playoff time? And does he sit out the whole year? — @AlphonTodd

Answer: Great question. I’ll have to say, yes, there is a chance. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said the Simmons saga could take four years to be resolved. Personally, I don’t see Simmons being on the team come playoff time.

I have two reasons: One, Simmons and the Sixers don’t appear to be cooperating with each other. I think things have a chance of getting uglier before they get better. The Sixers just fined him, again, for not traveling with the team on their current six-game road trip. Secondly, the Sixers may start struggling and will need to make a move. In that scenario, they may back away from their lofty demands. Or a team, looking to make the playoffs, may go all in for Simmons’ services. So I don’t think that he’ll remain on the roster come playoff time.

» READ MORE: With Joel Embiid out, the Sixers’ road doesn’t get any easier as elite centers await in Utah and Denver

Question: How do you feel about the Sixers playing with only 7-8 players? Do you think the Sixers should be playing with this many players on their team right now? — @BLSg20

Answer: Believe me, I understand your question. But I think the Sixers are better off playing with 10 players at least for the rest of the regular season. Here’s why: Playing only seven to eight players in the regular season would be a lot of wear and tear on the starters.

Sure, there wouldn’t be as many leads blown by the all-bench lineups. But we have to take into account the health of the starters. In addition to dealing with COVID, Embiid has a bad left knee. Tobias Harris was also dealing with a bruised knee in the preseason. And Danny Green is out for a second time with hamstring soreness.

So the added minutes they would play in a short rotation would wear them down toward the end of the regular season, if not sooner. They would also be banged up heading into the playoffs.