Can Embiid and Simmons coexist?

The east is becoming a heavily dominant conference with stars like Giannis, Tatum and Siakam taking over and they have great players with them with a great system. So far when we examine the Sixers and their woes we can see that Ben Simmons not shooting does hurt this team however what he lacks in shooting he makes up for in other ways, Simmons is a 6’10, 240 pound athletic playmaker able to guard 1-5 and finish at the rim, he works best at a fast pace in transition the glaring problem is in the playoffs the game can often be slowed down Simmons doesn’t work well with this as he is not an outside shooter and the paint often becomes crowded as his duo Embiid likes to play down low. Joel Embiid is a dominant center in this pace and space small ball era, coming off of pick and rolls able get to the hoop, Embiid has solid rim protection. But Embiid currently lacks the movement and outside shooting to become a good shooting center/stretch five Embiid is averaging 3.7 3s per game and is only shooting 34% this year.

Both players do not compliment each other in terms of play style. Embiid would rather play down low in the post near the hoop and play it smart taking his time and slowing the pace down a bit, and Simmons would prefer to play around the paint too and put constant pressure on defense playing at a quick pace in transition, it is very easy for teams to crowd the paint and force them to shoot and it makes it tougher for Embiid and Simmons. If Simmons had a system like Giannis at the Bucks where he is able to play the paint and kick it out to shooters around the perimeter he would thrive in a system like this. Yes they are young players who have time to improve their jump shot and adjust their play styles for each other but how long will this take? They are currently a playoff calibre team and they want to be making the NBA finals and not consistently exiting in the semis. These are 2 all star calibre players who can dominate the league correctly if their games are adjusted. Let’s take a look at On/Off court stats. When Simmons and Embiid are on the floor we look at the standard and advanced per game stats. ( website used)

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid standard per game stats when both on the floor
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid advanced per game stats when both on the floor

We can see Simmons is still near a triple double and Embiid is able to get buckets at an efficient rate. Now let’s look when Embiid is on the floor and Simmons is not.

Joel Embiid standard per game stats without Simmons
Joel Embiid advanced per game stats without Simmons

His shooting from 3 becomes more efficient, he attempts more field goals and his points are increased by 3.1. He also finds himself at the free throw line more. Embiid does improve in terms of DRtg and ORtg and has a much better NetRtg, the PACE does drop off and his USG% increases by 7% his eFG% also drops this can be a factor due to him taking a lot more shots. Now let’s look at Simmons on the floor when Embiid is off.

Ben Simmons standard per game stats without Embiid
Ben Simmons advanced per game stats without Embiid

Ben Simmons almost stays the same in terms of standard stats near enough a triple double and a 0.8 point difference. When we see the advanced stats Simmons DRtg is worse but his ORtg is better a good NetRtg but not as good as Embiid. Ben USG% goes up by .4% and his AST% goes up too. The PACE takes a small dip. 

but we also have to look past them and examine the rest of the squad for example Brett Brown this season leading the Sixers to a 9-23 road record, Sixers lost vital pieces like Jimmy Butler and a good shooter in JJ Redick. The Sixers also have an Al Horford problem has been on a decline since leaving Celtics the Sixers oversized lineup is not working. Stated on The Ringer the 76ers go from a net rating of minus -1.1 in 480 minutes Horford and Embiid are on the court to plus-7.6 in 707 minutes with just Embiid. According to Embiid and Horford have averaged 14.3 minutes per game together and had the worst offensive rating of 98.7, this was of any two 76ers teammates that have played together for at least 300 minutes. Horford is on a 4 year $109 million contract and has not lived to his expectations his efficiency is down from his last season in Boston. It is easy to blame Embiid and Simmons and say they do not work together but we must look at the roster and coaching staff as a whole, Ben and Joel are powerful all star players who are capable of dominating the NBA if put in the right environment they are also able to make the All NBA first,second or third team. So yes the idea of Joel and Ben coexisting is a possibility they are young talented players who have time to grow and develop a new game to help one another. This is a good start to a strong franchise Philly now just need to find pieces to help Ben and Embiid out the players around them must be looked at too as they might not help/benefit Simmons and Embiid.

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