The time is here Philadelphia fans! The Ben Simmons saga is over, and James Harden is finally a 76er. A superstar to pair with Joel Embiid is something we desperately needed. The Sixers finally pulled the trigger on a long awaited superstar, now let's talk about it.
This franchise altering trade has ended the Ben Simmons saga, something most Philadelphia fans have wanted for a while now. No more summer workout videos. No more worrying about his jump shot. No more locker room issues. It's time to move on.
Joel Embiid seemed excited about the trade in his twitter post minutes after the news broke, as this picture clearly states how he feels about Ben Simmons.
James Harden will be making Philadelphia his 3rd home in just 2 years, after many people thought a trio of Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant would work out. Unfortunately, due to certain circumstances James Harden thought it would be best for him to ask out of Brooklyn and come to Philadelphia.
The 76ers gave up fan favorite's in Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and also included 2 future first round picks (2022 unprotected, 2027 1-8 protected).
So, what does Philadelphia's starting lineup look like?
The projected starting lineup looks something like James Harden at point guard, Tyrese Maxey at shooting guard, Matisse Thybulle/Danny Green at small forward, Tobias Harris at power forward, and Joel Embiid at center.
The question is still up in the air about who starts at small forward for the 76ers. Danny Green has been dealing with the injury bug all season. Ever since he's been back, it's been a different starting lineup between Green, and Thybulle.
Tyrese Maxey gets to return to his prime position (SG) and doesn't have to spend this season trying to learn how to be a playmaking point guard.
Do the Sixers win this trade?
I don't see this trade as one team getting better than the other. I think both teams improve and fill in the missing holes. Brooklyn gets much needed defense in Ben Simmons, another shooter in Seth Curry, and a solid backup center in Andre Drummond. Before the trade deadline ended, Brooklyn was looking to trade the two first round picks via the Sixers, for a solid role player. One piece they were looking at was Myles Turner but for the Brooklyn Nets, that didn't work out and time ran out. All in all for Brooklyn, they have a real shot at contending for the title.
Now, lets talk about how the Sixers improved. What is one thing the Sixers have desperately needed to pair along Joel Embiid? A point guard who can not only facilitate, but score at will. James Harden is a once in a lifetime offensive talent, and pairing him with a player like Joel Embiid makes them one of the best duos in the NBA. When James Harden got traded from Houston to Brooklyn he changed his game. He wasn't the number one scorer anymore, so he had to change his game to fit with his team. He developed into one of the league's best facilitators and that's exactly what he needs to bring to this team. Ben Simmons was an excellent passer on this Sixers team but not on the same level that Harden has become. Harden is everything we've needed for this Sixers team and they have real potential to go out there and win a ring for the city of Philadelphia.
Keeping Matisse Thybulle out of the trade was a huge win for the Sixers. You're able to keep one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and your defense doesn't take a hit.
What's the fit with Joel Embiid going to look like?
The Sixers paired a former MVP, with a potential future MVP. Although there are many strengths with these two players, there are also a few weaknesses and we'll point them out and talk about them. One of my biggest concerns is how James Harden is going to work off-ball in the offense. As many have seen in recent years, Harden has somewhat lost his interest in off-ball, and you could clearly see it when his time in Brooklyn was coming to an end. Harden needs to move more without the ball to make this work and his main priority should be feeding Joel Embiid down low. Although Joel Embiid has shown flashes of being a great pick and roll player, he's not going to be that lob threat like Harden had in Houston with Clint Capela. That's no disservice to anyone. In the pick and roll harden has excellent IQ and he will make the right play every single time. One thing he does well is picking apart defenses and exposing their weaknesses. That's something Philadelphia doesn't have. The Sixers offense mainly revolved around Joel Embiid. He was the playmaker, the scorer, the defender. He was the main source for everything. Now, with new addition of Harden, that can take a load off of Joel Embiid in a way.
My take on Doc Rivers
I'm not going to sit here and try to take anything away from Rivers, he's a great coach but he needs to perfect these players minutes, and stagger Embiid, Harden minutes. If he can't do that, he shouldn't be the coach of this team. They each need to thrive in their own way with the second unit on with them, while also being able to build chemistry with one another when sharing the court.
When James Harden goes to the bench and it's just Joel Embiid is on the floor we know exactly how the offense is going to run. A few dribble hand off's, post up with Embiid while everyone sits there and watches him put work in on the defense. We have a completely new look with Harden out on the floor with Embiid and I believe Doc can do a good job of utilizing Harden and Embiid's strengths.
James Harden has to build an identity in this offense and the best way to do that is to give him the ball and let him do his thing and see how it flows with Embiid on the bench.
One thing Doc Rivers cannot do is have a lineup on the floor without Harden, Maxey, or Embiid. If he finds himself doing that, he needs to fix it right away because a lineup without those 3 guys will be an absolute disaster.
All in all, I am very excited for this new team and getting ready for a playoff run. You should be too. I understand that people are upset at the assets that we gave up but you have to understand that Andre Drummond was leaving after this season, and Seth Curry was going to get paid after next season. I am especially excited to see what plan Doc Rivers can come up with Harden and Embiid duo. We have a very high ceiling with this team and we have an opportunity to win the finals for the first time since 1983.