The Philadelphia 76ers currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference, albeit with a 20-13 record. Although it’s only 20-13, they’re only 3.5 games behind the first place Boston Celtics (24-13). The Sixers have been unimpressive so far this season, but are making up for it with some flashy play at the end of games. The Sixers have allowed the fewest points per game (92.3), and the second fewest points per 100 possessions (99.4) in the NBA.

Last month, Ben Simmons was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the first overall pick in an NBA draft that was widely panned as weak. This year’s draft was considered to be a bit more exciting, so the experts were more on their game. That being said, the 76ers still drafted the best player on the board. And, at least on paper, they might have found their perfect replacement.

There are a lot of talented players in the NBA, but none with the ability to do everything Ben Simmons has done in his first season as a pro. Simmons has been the leader of the Philadelphia 76ers and has done so well that he has been named a starter for the all-star game. The problem for the 76ers is that Simmons is already too good for the team to contend for a championship, so they may need to trade him away.

The Philadelphia 76ers seemed to have the potential to compete in the NBA Finals not just this season, but for many years to come. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Sixers’ youthful, explosive combination, were expected to make them one of the East’s toughest teams to defeat. However, in the second round of the 2021 NBA playoffs, the squad – especially Ben Simmons – was exposed. In Game 7, the resurgent Atlanta Hawks defeated them, casting doubt on Simmons’ and the franchise’s future.

The relationship between Simmons and the Sixers is now a shambles, and the club must find out how to move on while still pursuing a championship. The good news for Philadelphia supporters is that, based on Summer League, there are two guys on the roster who may provide an improvement over Simmons, the team’s soon-to-be-former star.

Ben Simmons’ relationship with the Philadelphia 76ers has deteriorated.

Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers greets teammates on the court during a timeout in their game against the Dallas Mavericks during the 2021 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on August 9, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Sixers defeated the Mavericks 95-73.

Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers greets teammates on the court during a timeout in their game against the Dallas Mavericks during the 2021 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on August 9, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Sixers defeated the Mavericks 95-73. Tyrese Maxey | Ethan Miller/Getty Images Tyrese Maxey

Ben Simmons was selected No. 1 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft by the 76ers after a 19-14 season at LSU when he failed to lead the Bayou Bengals to March Madness. Due to a foot ailment, Simmons did not play in the NBA for the whole first season. However, when he returned for the 2018-19 season, he immediately rewarded the Sixers. On his route to Rookie of the Year, he averaged 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game.

While this gave Sixers supporters cause to be optimistic, Simmons’ game did not improve in the next three seasons. He had his lowest statistical averages of his career in 2021, averaging 14.3 points, 6.9 assists, and 7.2 rebounds.

However, it was in the playoffs when Simmons’ poor free throw shooting and utter unwillingness to shoot at key moments ruined the Sixers’ season. He went 15 for 45 from the line against Atlanta, passing up a wide-open dunk down two in the final minutes of Game 7 in favor of passing to Matisse Thybulle, who couldn’t complete the play. 

Both his coach, Doc Rivers, and Embiid battled not to claim he cost the team the game after the game. 

The Sixers are expected to trade Simmons in the 2020 summer, and both parties seem ready to move on. If the Sixers do, they may already have some ready-to-go replacements on the roster to help with the transition. 

Tyrese Maxey is the best player in the Las Vegas Summer League. 

Simmons’ offensive regression was the Sixers’ undoing in the playoffs, and it’s clear that they’ll need to find some guards and wings in the summer who can shoot from beyond the arc and score the ball. These are the guys that will complement Embiid well, and the club can afford to take a step back on defense with the former Kansas big man and Thybulle if these players aren’t lock-down defenders like Simmons.

Tyrese Maxey is demonstrating in Summer League that he might be exactly what Philly needs, if not more.  

Maxey, a 6-foot-2 Texan, spent one season at Kentucky before being selected No. 21 overall by the Sixers in 2021. In 15.3 minutes per game, he averaged 8.0 points and 2.0 assists in his first season. His per 36 and per 100 possession statistics, on the other hand, were even better, averaging 18.6 and 25.2 points, respectively.

During the regular season, Maxey had games of 22, 30, and 39 points, as well as a crucial 16 points in Game 6 against Atlanta.

Maxey is leading the Sixers’ Summer League squad in Las Vegas, both physically and metaphorically, as he enters his second season. When he plays in Vegas, he is by far the most mature player on the floor and has put up ridiculous numbers.

Maxey had 21 points, five rebounds, and four assists in his debut game against the Dallas Mavericks. He stepped it up a level in game two against the Hawks, going 31/6/5.

For Sixers supporters, the most exciting aspect is that Maxey is generating his own shots, which is something the team desperately needs. He may be an ideal Simons replacement if he can add a bit more playmaking and increase his assist totals.

In the Sixers Summer League, Isaiah Joe is also looking well.

Isaiah Joe is the other Sixer that has been impressing in Summer League. In 2021, the Sixers selected him 28 places after Maxey, as a guard from Arkansas. In 2021, he only played 9.3 minutes and scored 3.3 points per game, but he is a capable long-range shooter. 

Joe is beginning to show some of his talent from downtown in Summer League. In game one, he went 4-8 from three-point range and scored 15 points. He scored 21 points in game two, shooting 38 percent from three and going a perfect 4-4 from the line.

It might be fantastic for the Sixers if Maxey and Joe can keep this up and transfer it to the actual NBA season. It would imply that they wouldn’t need a star like Damian Lillard to make a Simmons deal work. A rotation of Maxey, Joe, Thybulle, and Seth Curry may replace Simmons’ position. 

The rise of Maxey and Joe, on the other hand, may simply make them greater trade bait. Daryl Morey, the Sixers’ general manager, may suddenly have more ammo to go after Lillard or Bradley Beal, something most Sixers supporters would welcome. 

Basketball Reference provided all stats.

RELATED: Colin Cowherd Slams Ben Simmons for His Offseason Antics: ‘Simmons is acting like a victim.’

The Philadelphia 76ers have been a mess for the past few seasons, unable to keep one of the best-young players in the NBA and unable to make it out of the second round of the playoffs. While the team has made some solid additions in the draft, it looks like the Sixers may have found their solution to the current mess.. Read more about ben simmons 3 point percentage and let us know what you think.

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