With the possible arrival of Ben Simmons approaching, should fans be concerned that he and Joel Embiid will be able to work together?
Go to any Philadelphia 76ers home game and it becomes readily apparent that Philly is Joel Embiid‘s city, we’re all just living in it.
From Embiid encouraging the chants of “Trust the Process” whenever he attempts a foul shot to his campaign to become al All-Star so he can impress his crush to his always entertaining Twitter feed, the city of Philadelphia has embraced their new star with an enthusiasm not seen for quite some time.
What makes the arrival of Embiid so much fun is that he is also delivering on the court. The 22-year old center is averaging 19.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks while being on the hardwood just 25 minutes a game. To think what he might be capable of once all the restrictions have been removed kind of boggles the mind.
Embiid has also become the undisputed leader of the Sixers roster. He takes the role seriously and wants nothing more than to be the guy the rest of the players look to when they need to see how to do it the right way. He has even been known to text NBA legend Tim Duncan for advice on being a leader.
Make no mistake. This Sixers team belongs to Embiid and that won’t be changing any time soon.
So will first overall draft pick Ben Simmons be able to deal with that?
Due to a Jones fracture in his foot that required surgery to repair, Simmons has yet to suit up in a real NBA game this season. It was a massive disappointment for Sixers fans because of the flashes of brilliance Simmons demonstrated during NBA summer league play.
It is widely expected (but not confirmed) that Simmons will play at some point this season, most likely after the All-Star break in February.
Simmons came to the NBA with some pretty high expectations, most of which he has done nothing to dampen. Everyone is aware of what Simmons can do and what he could feasibly bring to the NBA, especially Simmons himself.
Confidence has seemingly never been an issue for 20-year old from Australia.
Given all of that, how will Simmons react when he joins a roster where he will not be the star attraction and will likely be the Scottie Pippen to Embiid’s Michael Jordan?
That isn’t to say Simmons won’t be a force to be reckoned with in the NBA. There is no question he can and will be a transformative player who will take the Sixers to the next level in their rebuild. But will his ego be able to cope with the fact that Joel Embiid will always be the star and the player the fans root for the hardest?
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One has only to look to Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook or Los Angeles between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant to see examples of what can happen when you have two Alpha dogs on your roster. Sure, they can play nice for a little while, but eventually things could go south in a big way.
Normally most teams are lucky to have one or two first-round picks on their roster. The Sixers, once Simmons is healthy, will have no less than five. Yes, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel may be gone by the time Simmons suits up, but that won’t help solve the problem if Simmons and Embiid can’t coexist.
Just another excellent reason to get Simmons on the court as soon as possible.
Because if there is any friction between the two, the sooner the Sixers see it the sooner they can try to fix it. Even if that means trading Simmons to a team where he can be the star all by his lonesome.