Sixers Mailbag – Monday, May 29th, 2017

Updated: Monday, May 29, 2017 01:24 PM

“While Jojo is the perfect fit at 5 for Ben, Ben isn’t necessarily the perfect fit for Jojo. Spacing on offense is a necessity for both to optimize their efficiency.

Are we too quick to name Ben as the second star to Jojo without seeing them play together and two is it too early to stop taking BPA in the draft due to uncertainty with both Jojo and Ben?”
— Dave

Well, I think Ben has the chance to be a really good fit with Embiid as well, for a couple of reasons.

First, as fun as it was to see the team dump the ball into Embiid in the post time after time after time last year, that’s probably not his future in this league, at least not nearly to the extent as he did it last year. Get the ball to Embiid on the move and he can be significantly more efficient, as he has a combination of towering size, fluidity, and power that few in the league can match. You see how effective big men rolling to the hoop are, now imagine Embiid’s quickness, fluidity, 7’2″ size and skill doing that with a high level shot creator to attract attention as well.

And while Simmons’ shooting is an obvious concern, he also has the chance to help the 76ers’ spacing. I’ve been preaching this for a while now, but putting primary shot creation in a non-standard position has benefits in this regard. You can be pickier in the other 3 players you put around them, and put spacing at those positions at an even higher premium while being less concerned about the tradeoffs you typically have to make, because you have Simmons creating offense and Embiid cleaning up defensive mistakes. So maybe your spacing from the power forward spot is below league average, but it’s easier to get spacing from the pg, sg, and sf spots above league average.

I also think there’s some benefit to having guys not accustomed to defending the ball handler in pick and roll sets (PF’s) be 20′ from the hoop and defending action they’re not used to, which could confuse weakside help rotations when Embiid rolls to the hoop. I also think there’s something to be said for asking sf’s and pf’s to regularly look for the ball handler in transition, again something they’re not accustomed to and something that could cause confusion in transition responsibilities.

Obviously, Simmons’ isn’t a *perfect* fit unless defenders have to worry about his shot off the dribble, but his style brings with it advantages as well.

Back to your point, though, I’m confident enough in Ben Simmons being a focal point of this team to have it influence my draft rankings. When you’re selecting in this draft, there’s an implied question of “do I project any of these players to be more likely than Simmons 2nd stars to Embiid”, and my answer to that is no. If that answer were different, then I’d be more willing to go strict BPA.

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Derek Bodner

Derek Bodner is a credentialed reporter covering the Philadelphia 76ers independently for He is also a college basketball scout for, and an NBA contributor for The Ringer. Contact Information: / @DerekBodnerNBA

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  • Jeff Dommel

    We keep assuming Simmons wont fix his shot but every video ive seen hes been draining it from deep. If anyone can fix it bret can. Look at Bowen

  • Kevin Herman

    Jonathan Isaac! I know thats the code word when you start talking about not taking the BPA. Its not going to happen Derek. Tell everyone at Liberty Ballers as well. The pick is going to be Jackson, Tatum, Fox or Monk if they stay at 3. There is no way they take Jonathan Isaac nor should they.

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