It’s funny how the one person who said Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid will become Champions some day together was Brett Brown
who might be the first one to get the boot if the Sixers fail to win a championship this season. Last season Elton Brand brought over Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to join Ben Simmon and Joel Embiid and most would agree no one gave the Kawhi Leonard led Toronto Raptors a fun for their money more than the Sixers. They were that one team you were terrified to face because they boasted 4 stars in Harris,Simmons,Embiid,and Butler. I said stars because Tobias Harris is has never been an all-star but the guy can go and get you 20-30 points in his sleep so long that is all you task him with doing. Jimmy Butler spoke out about why he left the Sixers saying he wasn’t sure who was the leader which is crazy because he would’ve been the perfect leader for that team. He was able to play an outside in game with Joel Embiid which reminded me a ton of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and the way they played off Embiid was magnificent to say the least. Jimmy Butler was a scorer,play-maker, and elite defender on the Sixers and it’s clear they are not as good this season.
Don’t get me wrong I was a bit optimistic about the Sixers this year, through the playoffs Ben Simmons became strictly a defender and cutter for the most part. The offense ran through Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid and I don’t comprehend how Elton Brand let Jimmy Butler get away. The Miami Heat signed him at $140 million, if Elton Brand was willing to fork out an extra $10-20 million for Jimmy Butler I am sure he would’ve set aside his doubts about fitting in with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Jimmy Butler left Philadelphia but Joel Embiid was not the reason why, Jimmy Butler enjoyed playing with Joel Embiid and even developed chemistry with Ben Simmons on the floor as they hounded teams on the defensive side of the ball with their athleticism and tenacity on defense. I still ask myself why would Elton Brand give Tobias Harris $180 million dollars and the man has yet to accomplish anything significant in his career. I’ve followed Tobias since his days in Orlando but even when I saw him play on the Magic and even the Clippers last season I did not see much beyond scoring from Tobias not to mention hes far from elite as a defender. He led the Clippers in scoring last season but Jerry West decided to trade him and it seemed like the Clippers did not lose a beat as they gave the Durant-Curry led Warriors a scare in the first round of the playoffs last season.
So the Sixers have been up and down pretty much all year, they did not re-sign JJ Redick and let Marco Belinelli and Ersan Elyasova go elsewhere making life all that much harder for Ben Simmons who till this day refuses to take a jumpshot. It’s a roller coaster in Philadelphia to say the least, it just seems like Brett Brown lost the team. How is it that you ask of Ben Simmons to attempt to just 1 3 point shot a night and ever since that statement Ben Simmons has not taken not 1 3 point attempt? As a coach if you have players that are not willing to do what you ask of them you have a serious problem, that is why this era of basketball is nothing like the old school were their was actual order and players fell in line. Joel Embiid has been hearing it from former legends Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal who are ready to unleash on Joel whenever he has a bad game and the Sixers lose. Anyone who proclaims Joel Embiid to be on the same level of a Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley must be the age of 21 or younger and never witnessed Shaq and Barkley in their primes. I like Joel Embiid I am just sick of him going back and forth about not knowing how he wants to approach the game, we waited a year or two for him to round into form and till this day there are still questions about his durability through the coarse of a full season.
Joel Embiid proclaims himself to be the most dominant player in the league and I believe he has all the potential to be that but like they said do not talk about it be about it. In last year’s playoffs we could point to Joel Embiid not being 100 percent all we want but he was complete non-factor against Marc Gasol down low in the paint and had absolutely no answer for Marc’s interior defense. After Kawhi Leonard’s cold blooded 3 from the corner which sent the Raptors to the Conference Finals, Joel Embiid exited in tears which I respected because it showed just how bad he wanted to win. Year after year it has been playoff exit after playoff exit for the Sixers and I believe they lost the one player who could have put them over the top in Jimmy Butler. Jimmy Butller might not have any championship rings but he is what I call the definition of a competitor, him not having a championship does not take away from the fact that he competes till the end and demands excellence from his teammates. Jimmy Butler was not a highly coveted lottery pick when he was drafted, he had to work hard to become the player he is today and that is the type of basketball player I admire. He was not gifted with a gaudy wingspan and could not shoot a rock in a ocean coming into the NBA but I respect Jimmy Butler because he tells it how it is and the moment he felt he couldn’t compete to beat the Warriors with Wiggins and Towns that is when I fell in love with him as a player.
To conclude Jimmy Butler has translated his leadership to the Miami Heat and has them atop the Eastern Conference with a better record than the Sixers and he is doing it with Bam Adebayo who has blossomed into an all-star and one of the top 10 bigs in the game at the moment if not top 5. Jimmy Butler did not sign with the Miami Heat to prove to everyone that he can average 25-30 ppg, he signed with the Heat because he related to the culture of the Miami Heat and what they represented. Just looking at Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons at the moment, they need a Jimmy Butler in their ear to bring out the best in them and I believed they would have won a championship together this year if Elton Brand had elected to re-sign Jimmy and let Tobias get his money elsewhere. Jimmy Butler has been one of the top 10 players in the NBA this season which has been postponed due to the Corona-virus which and I am willing to bet every dollar in my wallet if the Sixers and Heat faced off in the playoffs the Heat will take the Sixers out in 6 games or maybe sooner because the Sixers are just a big mess right now and have no direction. It might be time to break Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons up, and Jimmy Butler not being there is the reason why, till next time.