Videos have been posted all season long of Simmons dunking and making trick shots during pregame warmups. But with this latest development, it’s good news for all involved.
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The Australian native entered this NBA season with a lot of promise before breaking his foot. He was set to play the point guard position for a team in desperate need of guard play. But it never happened as Simmons was shelved for the entire season with injury.
He underwent successful surgery and missed the Sixers’ final 36 games of the season..
Embiid, a.k.a. “The Process,” looked good for the Sixers, who nearly tripled their win total from a season ago.
Philadelphia went just 10-72 in 2015-16, but with Embiid on the court, his presence was largely felt this season. He averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.1 assists in 31 games (all starts). Even though he was on a minutes restriction, he still managed to get hurt.
Jan 27, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) reacts to his three pointer in front of Houston Rockets center Nene Hilario (42) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Trade Assets for the NBA Draft
While the news of Simmons’ health is a bright spot, it comes with a downside.
While fans saw the rookie participate in last year’s NBA Summer League, he won’t participate this year, which means fans won’t get another look at Simmons in a Sixers’ uniform until his first NBA game, albeit the preseason or regular season.
Simmons’ situation puts the Sixers in an interesting position in this year’s NBA Draft. With two potential first-round picks and two second-round picks to work with, holding Simmons out of Summer League is understandable.
Philadelphia’s front office has some trade assets to work with as well, with center Jahlil Okafor and forward Justin Anderson on the roster.
The Sixers were unable to move Okafor before this season’s trade deadline, but he finished this season strong, still making a move possible in the offseason.
He averaged 11.8 points and 4.8 rebounds before being sidelined with right knee soreness on March 24.
Anderson averaged 7.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 23 games with Philadelphia, starting in seven games. He came to the Sixers as part of a trade that sent center Nerlens Noel to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Philadelphia 76ers also received a 2017 second-round draft pick. With a strong guard class in this year’s NBA Draft, trading Anderson or Okafor, or even both could be viable offseason options for Sixers management.