Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is a combination that a lot of people in the NBA, including the Cavs, feel like is disastrous, and it can’t work long term. And there is one member of the Cavs organization that believes eventually, maybe even as soon as this summer, if Philadelphia has an earlier than expected exit in the postseason again… there’s one member of the Cavs organization that believes that Philadelphia is going to have to pick between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. That that pairing is going to have to be split up
The Sixers are right to funnel the ball Embiid’s way: He’s a diverse post scorer who can overpower opponents with power moves or use fakes to dance his way to the basket. No big man draws more fouls from the post than him, either. And now that he’s developed his passing ability, he makes teams pay for doubling him. Put it all together and Embiid has scored 1.12 points per post-up this season, which is better than anyone since Dirk Nowitzki averaged 1.15 points per post-up in 2010-11, per Synergy (minimum 300 total post-ups). But as the chart below shows, Embiid’s dominant regular season numbers have declined in the playoffs.
But opponents can game plan during the playoffs and strategically time pressure and double-teams more than they can during the regular season. No matter the matchup, Embiid will need to maintain his efficiency and make opponents suffer when they double by finding cutters and shooters. But then it’s on those players to hit shots. You’d think a team led by two limited perimeter threats would be littered with knockdown shooters, but the Sixers have none. Horford, Richardson, and Thybulle are average shooters. Richardson tied a season high with six 3-pointers on Sunday, but he’s made only 34.4 percent of his 3s off the catch, per NBA Advanced Stats. Harris has made only 37 percent of his spot-up 3s in his career, per NBA Advanced Stats. Burks and Furkan Korkmaz can shoot, but they aren’t reliable defenders. A post-centric style of play could expose some of the Sixers’ existing flaws.

Cavs like their chances in eventual Ben Simmons sweepstakes

The Cavs, of course, would have interest in Simmons. He possesses the talent and versatility to immediately alter the team’s future. The Sixers would want a haul for the 2016 No. 1 pick who is locked up through 2023-24 and will probably be named to the All-Defense First Team. But the Cavs believe they have enough to assemble an enticing package, especially with recent first-rounders littering the roster, a top six pick coming in October and a future first from the Milwaukee Bucks.
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Only a deep Sixers playoff could keep a fleeting hope of his return alive this season, sources said. Even then, his return from the procedure — expected to take place outside of the Disney campus in the coming days — is largely expected to come next season. The Sixers are preparing now for a postseason run that will come without Simmons, one of the league’s most talented and versatile weapons.
Brown said the Sixers should know within the next 24 hours what the next steps for Simmons will be. The team said in its statement Thursday that treatment options were being considered. Simmons has already been ruled out for Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic. “Yeah, it’s a little frustrating sometimes,” guard Josh Richardson said of losing Simmons. “But that’s the way the game goes. So we’re going to just have to have a next-man-up mentality like we’ve had all year. Guys will pick up the slack, and when we get him back, he’ll fit back in seamlessly.
That will hinge on a couple of primary factors: which treatment option Simmons decides on, and how his body responds to the treatment. While Simmons’ general durability and recovery from a recent back injury are encouraging factors, it’s hard to say what the timetable looks like until the specifics are hammered down. Surgery is usually not recommended for first-time injuries of this nature, but even conservative treatment plans can last in the neighborhood of six weeks.
Storyline: Ben Simmons Injury