Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons Can't Coexist? Sixers' Big Man Says It's 'BS'
Everything hasn't gone as planned for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2020. By now, Sixers' head coach Brett Brown assumed his team would be fighting for the number one spot in the Eastern Conference with the Milwaukee Bucks. That goal is way out of sight at this point.
Heading into the All-Star break, the Sixers are sitting in fifth place. While they aren't too far out from snagging home-court advantage in the playoffs, it becomes less likely whenever the Sixers hit the road for an away game as they still struggle outside of South Philly.
At this point, it's clear the Sixers' biggest issue as a team is the fact they never seem to play well away from home. However, that idea isn't good enough for everybody. Instead, the agenda amongst the national media has been implementing the idea that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons simply cannot coexist. Therefore, the Sixers have to choose one to keep, and the other has to get traded away.
While at the 2020 NBA All-Star weekend, Sixers' center Joel Embiid was asked about it. And to no surprise, the big man shot down that idea with a valuable point. "I think it's BS," Embiid told The Inquirer's, Keith Pompey. "When you look at the last couple of years, the last two years we've been playing together, there's not a problem. This year it's only a problem because at times our offense has struggled."
Embiid is correct about the last two years. Although Simmons and the big man play their own positions quite differently, they have managed to help lead their team to two playoff series wins over the last couple of years.
This year, they are on pace to make the postseason for the third year in a row. And while there's no doubt the offense has struggled at times, there's hope that the benching of Al Horford creates an easier scenario for the Sixers as we've seen a sneak peek at what it could all look like last Tuesday night as the Sixers defeated the Clippers.
Following that win, Brett Brown mentioned that's probably the best game he has seen Embiid and Simmons play together as they both put up 26 points. While Embiid and Simmons wouldn't overreact to one game's worth of evidence proving they can coexist -- they also believed that things are beginning to come together.
"I think [our offense] is definitely going to be better after the All-Star break," Embiid claimed. "Just look at the last two years and what we've been able to do. I think it can work, and it's going to work." The Sixers return to the court from All-Star break next Thursday to face the Brooklyn Nets at home for the second and final time this season.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_