Why the 76ers should trade Embiid


Prasham Jobanputra

Joel Embiid has become a fan favorite in Philadelphia as he has captivated the city. But is it time to part ways with the all-star center?

Yep, you read the headline right.  I believe the Philadelphia 76ers should part ways with Joel Embiid, if they don’t make a deep postseason run this year.

I have come to love Joel Embiid as a basketball superstar and personality.  Certain athletes are built to play in Philly and Embiid has certainly been that in my opinion at least.  But the duo of Ben Simmons and Embiid hasn’t amounted to anything close to an NBA championship.  Two straight losses in the conference semifinals with a lot of disappointment coming from both stars, whether it’s Embiid’s health or Simmons’s aggressiveness.

And the Eastern Conference is only getting tougher with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.  The Bucks had the best record in the NBA in the 2018-19 season and so far, have the best record in the league this year.  Leading the way is The Greek Freak, Giannis, who won MVP last year and is possibly the front runner for the award again this year as he has actually improved.  He has improved from 27.7 points per game to 29.6 and from 12.5 rebounds per game to 13.7.  Along with this, Antetokounmpo’s three-point shooting was the one part of the game that he struggled with but he has improved from about a 26% three-point shooter to 30% while averaging two more shots from behind the arc a game compared to last year.

My point in telling you that is that as long as Giannis is on the Bucks or in the Eastern Conference, he is only going to get better and better and the road to the Finals is going to get harder and harder.  The 76ers formula just hasn’t worked, they are a good team but not good enough to get over the hump.  That’s why, if the Sixers fail to show improvement in the playoffs this year, it will be time to switch things up and I think it starts by changing the face of the franchise to Simmons.

In back to back years, we saw Embiid miss time in the playoffs with injury questions on if he was ready to go for each game, pretty much all the time.  Last year, when Embiid missed game 3 of the first round against the Nets, Simmons took off.  He had 31 points and 9 assists, and I know it’s only one game but let’s go back to 2018.  Embiid missed the last 8 games of the season and during that time the Sixers went 8-0 with Simmons averaging nearly a triple double in that stretch.  I think it’s been proven that Simmons can be the centerpiece of the Sixers without Embiid, especially with all the missed time Embiid has accumulated along the way.

I think it’s a lot easier to build around Simmons too.  Look at the two most successful teams, as far as record goes, in the NBA, the Lakers and the Bucks.  The main centerpiece on those teams are LeBron James and Antetokounmpo, two players who Simmons can compare with as far as skill set.  All three have an incredible finishing ability in the paint and can get in the paint at will along with the ability to be the playmaker for their team.  Simmons needs a center that won’t congest the paint and shooters all around him to fully showcase his skillset the way LeBron and Giannis have been able to do, as this has been the Bucks and Lakers formula for winning.

The Sixers could possibly knock out two birds with one stone by trading Embiid to the Wizards for Bradley Beal.  The Sixers would be shifting the focus on offense from Embiid to Simmons while giving Simmons a better chance to be more successful.  Also, they add the elite shooter that they have been trying to get for a long time in Beal, who has grown seemingly unhappy in Washington and has been on the trade block for a while now.  After that, the Sixers need to just surround as many capable three-point shooters around Simmons along with a center who can help fill the void on defense that Embiid will leave behind.  Some cheap options at center would include Dwight Howard or Javale McGee, who have both fit in with LeBron on the Lakers as rim protectors and threats on the pick and roll.  The best case scenario would be for Sixers to add a stretch big, but there aren’t any affordable options in free agency this year, but they can look in the draft.  Isaiah Stewart from Washington could be a possibility in the scenario.

Whether it’s for Beal or not, Embiid will bring a lot assets to Philly if traded.  Sixers fans won’t be too happy with the move but it’s simply just time to mix things up if the team can’t make a deep playoff run this year and that process will have to start with “The Process.”