Why you should not count out the Philadelphia 76ers

In the summer, the Philadelphia 76ers built a roster that seemed poised and primed to do big things this season. The 76ers got bigger with the addition of Al Horford, retained Tobias Harris, and brought in from Miami Josh Richardson in the Jimmy Butler trade. Add that to what they had in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Philadelphia appeared ready to make their move.

On paper, this team looked better, but basketball is never played on paper. Chemistry seems to be an issue with this team. Horford and Embiid together is not a perfect fit, especially in this era of small-ball, so 76ers head coach Brett Brown finally made the move that seemed inevitable, he decided to send Horford to the bench.

Against the Clippers, with Horford coming off the bench, Philadelphia’s offense looked better, and the spacing appeared to be better, and ultimately, the 76ers would defeat Los Angeles 110-103 in their last game before the All-Star break.

Now, going into the second half of the season, Philadelphia has a few things working in their favor. First, they play well at home. Philadelphia is an NBA-best 25-2 at home, and next, they have the second- easiest schedule the rest of the way. 

Regarding Philadelphia’s home record, this team has beaten some of the top teams in the league on their home floor, which includes victories over the Bucks, Clippers, Lakers, Celtics(twice), Raptors, Nuggets, and Jazz.

However, Philly must play better on the road. The 76ers are one of the worst teams away from home. They are 9-19 away from the Wells Fargo Center, and they have lost to some lousy teams, including losses to the Hawks(twice), Magic(twice), and Wizards.

Very good teams win a lot at home, and great teams are above .500 on the road. At this point, Philadelphia is a very good team, but this was not the season to be very good, this was the season that the team needed to be great. 

Currently, if the season ended today, Philadelphia would be the fifth-seed and would play the Miami Heat, who have beaten the 76ers two out of three times this season. If that matchup were to happen, with the Heat having home-court advantage, the 76ers could go out in the first round. 

Philadelphia went into the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak. If they don’t make their move now, then it might not happen for Philadelphia this season, but with Embiid back, Simmons playing well(averaging 20.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 8.1 apg in January and February), and the additions of Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III, the 76ers have the depth and the talent to make their move. 

At home, they have proven they can beat any team in the NBA. If they could just be average on the road, this team could make their move in the Eastern Conference and ultimately try to make a run at an NBA title. You can say what you want about the 76ers, but there is just too much talent to dismiss them. If they do struggle the rest of the way, changes will come, which could include Brown losing his job. 

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Brand on Simmons: ‘He continues to prove why he is one of the NBA’s best and most dynamic talents’

The NBA announced today that Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers was named an Eastern Conference reserve for the 2020 All-Star Game in Chicago. It’s Simmons’ second consecutive All-Star Game selection after also being named a reserve for last year’s game in Charlotte.

“Being named an All-Star is an incredible honor for Ben as he continues to prove why he is one of the NBA’s best and most dynamic talents,” said Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Elton Brand. “Having two All-Star appearances in his first three seasons, at the age of 23, is a testament to his elite work ethic, gifted athletic ability and commitment to excellence. Ben has only scratched the surface of what he is capable of accomplishing in this league. I am thrilled for Ben’s hard work to be recognized at the highest level.”

In his third NBA season, Simmons holds averages of 16.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.4 assists (fifth in the NBA, second in the East) and a league-best 2.2 steals per game. He and fellow All-Star starters Luka Dončić and LeBron James are the only three players in the league averaging at least 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Simmons is the only member of the trio shooting at least 50-percent from the field, while his .580 mark ranks 10th in the league and fourth in the East. His 385 assists rank third in the NBA, behind only James and fellow All-Star Trae Young.

Simmons has notched four triple-doubles this season, which is tied with All-Star starter Giannis Antetokounmpo for the most in the Eastern Conference. In his most recent triple-double effort, Simmons matched a career high with 34 points, adding 12 rebounds, 12 assists and five steals to his totals. He is the only player to reach such minimums in a game since steals were first tracked in 1973-74.

Second in the NBA in steals with 100 on the season, Simmons has snatched at least five steals on three occasions, including a pair of seven-steal games. Among the NBA’s hustle leaders, he also ranks first in the league in loose balls recovered and tied for third in deflections.

The Australia native recently played in his 200th career game and joined Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only three players in NBA history to tally at least 3,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 1,500 assists through their first 200 contests.

On Jan. 20, it was announced that Simmons earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors for games played between Monday, Jan. 13 and Sunday, Jan. 19. It was Simmons’ third career Player of the Week honor, as he’s now captured the award in each of his first three seasons in the NBA. For the week, he averaged 21.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game. He scored at least 20 points in each of his four games during the week, part of a stretch in which he scored 20-plus in a career-high five straight games.

Simmons joins Joel Embiid, who was named an All-Star starter last week. The duo represents the first 76er teammates to be selected to consecutive All-Star Games since Maurice Cheeks and Charles Barkley in 1987 and 1988.

76ers’ Ben Simmons named Eastern Conference Player of the Week

The NBA announced today that Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for play during the week of Monday, Jan. 13 through Sunday, Jan. 19. This marks Simmons’ third career Player of the Week honor, earning the award in each of his first three seasons in the NBA (April 9, 2018 and March 4, 201

Simmons’ award marks Philadelphia’s second consecutive winner after Josh Richardson earned Player of the Week honors on Jan. 13. The last time the 76ers were awarded back-to-back Player of the Week honors was the 2002-03 season when Hall of Famer Allen Iverson earned the honor in consecutive weeks. The last time two different 76ers earned the award in back-to-back weeks was when Aaron McKie and Iverson did so in 2000-01.

 For the week, the 76ers played in four games, earning a 3-1 record. Simmons recorded a total of 85 points through four games, averaging 21.3 points on the week. The 2019 NBA All-Star notched 20-or-more points in a career-high four straight games. Simmons also averaged 9.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game, the only Eastern Conference player to record such averages last week and one of three in the NBA.

 Simmons registered a double-double in three of the four games, with all three coming in the form of 20-10 games (two point-rebound double-doubles and one point-assist double-double). The NBA steals leader recorded at least one swipe in each of the four games, sending his season total to 88. Overall, the third-year NBA player has upped his streak of double-digit scoring to 18-consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak of his career.

 On Wednesday, Jan. 17 against Brooklyn at home, Simmons played in his 200th career game. Through those 200 contests, Simmons scored 3,228 points, collected 1,660 rebounds and dished out 1,608 assists. Simmons joined Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only three players in NBA history to reach at least 3,000 points, 1,500 rebounds and 1,500 assists in 200 career games.

 In the team’s matchup against the Chicago Bulls on Friday, Jan. 17, Simmons scored 12 of his 20 points in the first half, marking the fourth game in a row that he scored 10-plus in the first half. Against New York on Jan. 18, Simmons locked in his fourth consecutive 20-plus ppoint game, along with his 18th-straight double-digit scoring game, helping the 76ers snap a six-game road losing streak. Philadelphia sealed the season series against the Knicks on Saturday, owning a 3-0 record this season. Simmons is 11-0 in his career against New York.

At Indiana on Monday, Jan. 13, Simmons led the team in scoring (24) and rebounding (14).

 Simmons currently leads the league in steals (88), steals per game (2.1) and loose balls recovered (77), and is averaging 15.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 8.4 assists (fifth in NBA) per game. Simmons is the only Eastern Conference player this season averaging at least 15 points, seven rebounds and eight assists per contest and the only other players in the league doing so are Lakers’ LeBron James and Dallas’ Luka Dončić.

Twitter reacts to Ben Simmons hitting a three

It was a special night in Philadelphia on Tuesday as the 76ers hosted China’s Guangzhou Long-Lions. On this night in Philly, something that has never been seen before happened! Ben Simmons hit his first three-point shot in the NBA. While it’s only preseason and took three years for this to happen, the fans at the Wells Fargo Center celebrated like it was 1999.

Here is how Twitter reacted to Simmons’ big shot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

76ers’ Ben Simmons: ‘I think I am an elite player’

Entering his third season in the NBA, 76ers point guard Ben Simmons is looking to take that next step. Last season, Simmons became an All-Star for the first time and helped lead the 76ers to the Eastern Conference semifinals, and after re-signing Tobias Harris, and bringing in Al Horford and Josh Richardson, to go along with what they have with Simmons and Joel Embiid, Philadelphia is expected to do big things this season, and for that to happen, Simmons has to be at his very best.

“I think I’m locked in,” Simmons said at 76ers’ media day on Monday. “I don’t know what’s changed, a switch, or whatever it was, but I feel locked in; I feel ready. This summer has been huge for me. I’ve been working.

Recently, Simmons stated that he has fallen back in love with the game. On Monday, he explained how that happened.

“I think I was just too worried about what people were saying, and what was going on around, too many outside noises, and I was able to really block them out this summer, and just not really focus on what people were saying,” Simmons said. “At the end of the day, I don’t really care anymore, unless, it’s coming from somebody in my circle or somebody trying to help me get better.”

This summer, Simmons signed a five-year extension with the 76ers, so he will be in Philadelphia for the next few seasons, and if he continues to grow as a player, Simmons will be an elite player, which he believes he is at this point of his career.

“I think I am an elite player. I think I am elite at what I do, and what I did last season,” he said. “I’m happy to be here for another five years. I really don’t want to be anywhere else, obviously, so I’m excited about what we have going on. I’m excited about the new guys coming in. I think we have a real special opportunity to do something major here.”

Over the summer, a video surfaced of Simmons knocking down jump shots during workouts. At this point, Simmons is confident in the work that he’s put in. 

“I think I’m just confident in the work I’ve been putting in,” he said. “That’s the best way to say it. I’m more confident in what I’ve been doing and the reps I’ve been putting in.”

Regarding Simmons as an elite player, I think he has to develop a consistent jump shot to make that happen, and if he does, he will be elite. Fortunately for him, he is only 23, so he has a lot of time to improve and become an elite player for years to come.

(VIDEO) Ben Simmons’ jump shot is looking really good

When the season ended, Sixers fans were hoping and praying that Ben Simmons would find a jump shot in the offseason. Well, based on this latest video, their wishes may have come true.

Simmons, who recently signed a max-deal with the 76ers, looks like he has been working hard on his jump shot.  You need proof?

Watch below:

76ers scheduled to appear on national television 24 times next season

After making a big splash in the offseason, the Philadelphia 76ers are must-see TV. The NBA announced the schedule for the 2019-20 regular season today, and the Sixers will have 24 regular-season games that are slated to be on national TV across ABC, ESPN and TNT, including a season-opening matchup at home against Boston on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.  Philadelphia will also play 12 times on NBA TV.

The 76ers open the road schedule at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. against the Pistons, before concluding the team’s first trip on Monday, Oct. 28 against the Hawks at 7:30 p.m. at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Philadelphia is set to host 2018-19 Kia NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks at The Center on Christmas Day. The game is set for Wednesday, Dec. 25 and will be televised on ABC, starting at 2:30 p.m. The 76ers’ last Christmas Day home game was played on Dec. 25, 1988, when Philadelphia topped Washington 125-110, as Hall of Famer Charles Barkley tallied 25 points and 12 rebounds. Having played the last two Christmases (Boston, 2018; New York, 2017), this marks the 76ers’ third straight appearance on Christmas Day. The last time Philadelphia played on three consecutive Christmas Days was from 1986-88.

The Bucks, who reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season, and 76ers are set to face off three more times in 2019-20, with each game being played on national television. The two teams will meet twice in the month of February at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee: Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 at 8 p.m. on TNT and Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020 at 8:30 p.m. on ABC. Philadelphia and Milwaukee will close out the four-game season series at The Center on Tuesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. on TNT.

Other notable highlights include:

  • To tip off an early season four-game Western Conference road trip, the 76ers will visit All-Star Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, Nov. 2 (10 p.m.).
  • On Nov. 6 (9 p.m.), Philadelphia will take on 2018-19 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley and the new-look Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
  • The 76ers will visit the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors on Monday, Nov. 25 (7:30 p.m.) in the first of four matchups between the division rivals. Last postseason, the two teams played a seven-game Eastern Conference Semifinals series.
  • 2019 No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans will make their lone appearance at The Center on Friday, Dec. 13 (7 p.m.).
  • In the two teams’ second matchup of the 2019-20 season, Philadelphia will visit Boston and All-Star Kemba Walker on Thursday, Dec. 12 (8 p.m.) on TNT.
  • Philadelphia will take on Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, Dec. 15 (6 p.m.) at Barclays Center in the first of four matchups between the two teams. Also included in the four-game series, the Nets and 76ers will face off in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee on Monday, Jan. 20 (3 p.m.) at Barclays Center.
  • The Dallas Mavericks, led by 2018-19 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Luka Dončić and All-Star Kristaps Porzingis, will travel to Philadelphia for a Friday, Dec. 20 (8 p.m.) matchup on ESPN.
  • On Saturday, Jan. 25 (8:30 p.m.) on ABC, The Center will play host to All-Stars Anthony Davis, LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers.
  • Three days later, on Tuesday, Jan. 28 (7:30 p.m.), the Golden State Warriors, led by All-Stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell will make their lone visit to Philadelphia.
  • The 76ers will play host to 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, All-Star running mate Paul George and the L.A. Clippers on Tuesday, Feb. 11 (7 p.m.) on TNT.
  • Philadelphia’s March 1-7 road trip will feature games at the L.A. Clippers (Sunday, March 1, 3:30 p.m., ABC), the L.A. Lakers (Tuesday, March 3, 10 p.m., TNT), Sacramento (Thursday, March 5, 10 p.m.) and Golden State (Saturday, March 7, 8:30 p.m., ABC). Three of the four games will be nationally televised.
  • On Tuesday, March 31 (7:30 p.m.) on TNT, the 76ers will take on Houston Rockets’ All-Stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook in the only game between the two teams in Philadelphia.
  • The 76ers will have 18 weekend games (six Fridays, seven Saturdays, five Sundays) at The Center.
  • Philadelphia will play six games on ABC this season, tied for the most in the NBA (L.A. Lakers).

Philadelphia’s final regular season game is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15 at The Center against the Hornets.

 BREAKDOWN BY MONTH:

OCTOBER: 4 games (2 home, 2 road)

NOVEMBER: 16 games (7 home, 9 road)

DECEMBER: 16 games (9 home, 7 road)

JANUARY: 13 games (6 home, 7 road)

FEBRUARY: 11 games (6 home, 5 road)

MARCH: 15 games (8 home, 7 road)

APRIL: 7 games (3 home, 4 road)

Brand on Simmons: ‘He is one of the NBA’s most dynamic and talented young players’

The Philadelphia 76ers officially announced the extension for Ben Simmons on Tuesday, and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a five-year, $170M contract with no option in final year and a 15 percent trade kicker. Simmons’ contract extends through the 2024-25 campaign.

With the move, the 76ers have the following core players under contract until at least 2023:

Joel Embiid: 2023
Tobias Harris: 2024
Al Horford: 2023

This is the core that GM Elton Brand and the 76ers’ organization will go with in their quest for an NBA title, which will be led by Embiid and Simmons.

“Ben Simmons is an important piece of our core, and he is one of the NBA’s most dynamic and talented young players,” 76ers GM Elton Brand said. “It was a priority for our organization that we finalize a contract extension with Ben this summer. He was Rookie of the Year in his first season, an All-Star in his second and we expect him to continue to grow and succeed for seasons to come. Ben positively impacts the game in so many ways, and we look forward to continuing our championship pursuits with him as one of our leaders.”

Last season, Simmons, 22, averaged career highs in points (16.9) and rebounds (8.8) to go along with 7.7 (sixth in the NBA) assists and 1.4 steals per game en route to his first career All-Star Game selection. But he had his struggles in the playoffs, especially against the Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Simmons averaged 11.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 4.9 apg in that series. Those struggles are mainly because Simmons does not have a consistent jump shot.

If the 76ers want to take that next step, Simmons has to grow his game, which according to Tobias Harris, Simmons is working on this offseason.

“He’s made big improvements on his game; his jump shot is looking really good,” Harris said last week about Simmons. “He has the confidence to shoot it, and I just kept telling him there, ‘like, even in this workout when you are playing, have the confidence to shoot them and don’t get discouraged if you miss. This is where you build that type of confidence.’ So, it was a good sight to see how hard he has been working. He looks really good for a great year.”

If Simmons never develops a consistent jump shot, he will still have a lot of success in the NBA as evidenced by what we have seen thus far in his career.

However, if he grows his game, and develops a reliable perimeter game, he will be tough to guard, and Philadelphia should be able to take that next step as a team, which could be an NBA title.

Tobias Harris on Simmons’ jump shot: ‘He has the confidence to shoot it'(VIDEO)

Philadelphia 76ers G Ben Simmons can do a lot of things on the basketball court. He is an adept passer and has great vision; he can get to the lane and finish around the basket, and he is a solid defender. However, the one thing that is missing from his game is shooting.

In two NBA seasons, Simmons has not hit one three-point shot in his career(0-17), and he rarely takes jump shots. Last season, Simmons was 2-21 from shots between 15-19 feet, and he was 18-71 from 10-14 feet. Most of Simmons’ points have come on drives, putbacks, or in the post.  While he was an All-Star last season, he did have issues against the Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals, but maybe that will change next season.

According to Tobias Harris, who inked a five-year, $180 million deal to return to the 76ers, Simmons’ jump shot has looked good this summer.

“I was out in L.A, and I had linked up with Ben to workout,” Harris said today at his introductory press conference. “We played a lot of one-on-one. He’s in the gym religiously every day, grinding and getting better. He’s in great shape. Everybody was trying to figure out why I was guarding him at the three-point line. It was really because he hit two of them. When I dared him to shoot two of them, he hit two in a row, so that’s why I was there.

“He’s made big improvements on his game; his jump shot is looking really good. He has the confidence to shoot it, and I just kept telling him there, ‘like, even in this workout when you are playing, have the confidence to shoot them and don’t get discouraged If you miss. This is where you build that type of confidence.’ So, it was a good sight to see how hard he has been working. He looks really good for a great year.”

The 76ers have reportedly offered Simmons a five-year, $170 million extension, so they believe that he will develop his jump shot. Simmons is a very good player, and if he can make a 15-footer consistently, he will be tough to guard for years to come.

Are 76ers better today than they were at the end of last season?

The Philadelphia 76ers were very active on the first day of free agency. They reportedly re-signed Tobias Harris to a five-year deal, traded Jimmy Butler(signed four-year deal with Miami) to the Heat in a sign-and-trade for Josh Richardson(deal still being worked on), and signed Al Horford to a four-year contract. Also, Mike Scott re-upped with the team, and JJ Redick has moved on to the Pelicans. These deals can’t be official until July 6.

So, at this point, Philly’s projected starting lineup is Ben Simmons, Richardson, Harris, Horford, and Joel Embiid. That is an excellent lineup, and this lineup has the potential to be very good on the defensive end. All the starters will be at least 6’6″ or taller. However, is it better than what they had to finish last season? Not so sure.

One of the issues Philly had before they brought in Butler, was not having a guy who can beat you off the dribble and effectively create their own shot. Butler did that for the 76ers. He was a guy you can give the ball to and ask him to make a play, which was on full display against the Raptors in the playoffs, where he led the team in points per game(22.0) and assists per game(5.6). He was Philly’s best player in that series. People forget it was Butler who tied the game up late in the fourth quarter before Kawhi Leonard hit that miracle shot to close out the series. With Butler taking his talents to South Beach, it’s going to be imperative for Ben Simmons to step up. Simmons, who made his first All-Star team last season, can do a lot, but since he has not developed his jump shot yet, he can’t be your closer. Also, Harris is a good offensive player. However, while he is solid off the dribble, he is not Butler, and for as good as Embiid is, he is not a guy who can get a shot off the way Butler can late in games.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this new lineup works for Philadelphia. It’s definitely more versatile and more athletic, on paper than what they had last season, but in terms of better, time will have to be the judge of that. Remember, this team was a couple of bounces away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals and beating the eventual champions, the Toronto Raptors.

Obviously, they will add more pieces to this roster, but for now, it’s too close to call on whether this starting five and team will be better than what they had last season.

I guess we gotta see how this all plays out!