Yes, there’s roughly two new developments per week concerning the shaky relationship between Ben Simmons, Rich Paul and the Philadelphia 76ers. While the entire situation is absurd, it has brought an encouraging reality to life for the Sixers–that being they can contend and prosper without Simmons.

Ben Simmons’ Absence A Blessing In Disguise?

When a contender is without one of its premier players, the team is supposed to, in thought, drop in performance. That hasn’t happened for the Sixers without Simmons, as they’re 8-5 to start the 2021-22 season.

Yes, they’ve lost three games in a row, but that’s also partially due to Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris being off the floor due to health and safety protocols. Those individuals should return within the next two weeks. Furthermore, the team’s recent losses have been close affairs with opponents who are either playoff-caliber teams or competitive in general (New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors).

As for the group head coach Doc Rivers has at his disposal, the Sixers are getting considerable performance and production from their backcourt rotation, specifically Tyrese Maxey.

The Kentucky product had a plausible rookie season, one that he has built on in the early stages of the 2021-22 NBA season. Maxey has started every game for the Sixers and been an irreplaceable force on the offense end. He’s scoring off the dribble with ease, sticking perimeter jump shots at a high level and facilitating for his teammates. Maxey is averaging 17.1 points and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 38.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Seth Curry is averaging a would-be career-high 16.7 points per game. He continues to be a reliable shooting scorer who’s thriving in a more amplified role. Shake Milton is in a similar boat. The 25-year-old has continued to be instant offense off the bench.

Meanwhile, Furkan Korkmaz and Georges Niang have been slippery scoring outlets. They’re getting points from the perimeter with frequency while putting up double-digits on a nightly basis.

The players stepping up in Simmons’ absence are players with familiarity in the Sixers’ system, one that’s supposed to be a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference. They have youngsters playing up to the moment.

The 76ers’ offense is going to be a juggernaut when Embiid and Harris are back in the mix. They’ll have two All-Star-caliber scorers in Embiid and Harris, a budding star in Maxey, reliable and efficient wing scorers in Curry and Milton, sly outside players in Korkmaz and Niang, an outside sniper in Danny Green and a block in the paint in Andre Drummond.

Ben Simmons Trade

Now, let’s consider the prospect of a Simmons trade. No matter the package deemed acceptable by president Daryl Morey and company (several first-round draft selections or a young star), the 76ers receive pieces that would only add to their new foundation.

Draft picks could lead to more steals like Maxey, who was selected by the 76ers with the 21st pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. In the scenario they get more compelling young players, that makes their offense all the more lively and adds depth. By the way, we’re talking about the Sixers trading someone who isn’t even in the building.

At the end of the day, it’s difficult to see Philly winning the East with Simmons as their floor general. Every postseason has brought out a more extreme version of Simmons’ passive shooting. In the present, Philadelphia has a bevy of willing, young players who are unfazed by taking shots in the clutch–these players can only get better.

Simmons being removed from the equation has allowed the franchise to assess what it truly has on its bench, which it turns out is a bunch of starters. They accompany one of the elite big men in the NBA in Embiid and a proven, multifaceted frontcourt scorer in Harris.

Are the 76ers going to win the East? Who knows, but the reality is they’re not suffering without Simmons on either end of the floor.

Are you 1000% an NBA fan?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch newsletter.

*Sign up now and receive your own one-of-a-kind ClutchPoints photoshop with yourself and your favorite player!

Philadelphia is finding success slowing the game down in the halfcourt, as they entered Friday second in the NBA in field goal percentage (47.6 percent) and fourth in three-point shooting percentage (37.6 percent). Meanwhile, they’re ninth in opponent field goal percentage (43.8 percent) and 10th in opponent points per game (104.8).

As it concerns the future, the 76ers are getting a glimpse into how individuals like Maxey could actually be Simmons’ replacement, meaning they wouldn’t necessarily have to worry about acquiring a proven ball-handler for the latter. That’s a luxury, as it’s one less thing they could have to worry about in the long run.

Is trashing a $33 million salary ideal? Of course not. Financially, the 76ers want Simmons on the floor or be able to move him for value in a trade whether that be for draft picks or players who would become immediate impact pieces in their rotation.

On the other hand, one has to imagine that Simmons’ trade value is diminishing to the point where they can’t even get fair value for him. That’s what may very well keep the situation as is for the remainder of the season.

Drama aside, the Sixers are playing good basketball this season. It has just been difficult to focus on the basketball part of this operation, hence the under-the-radar nature of their roster’s success.

Ben Simmons’ absence has been a blessing in disguise for the 76ers.