One player who should replace Ben Simmons in Sixers’ starting lineup
While some might feel the NBA season just ended, including Ben Simmons, the start of this upcoming season is rapidly approaching. The Philadelphia Sixers and other teams start training camp in a few short days, and the regular season kicks off in less than a month.
One team that will have a lot to discuss during camp is the 76ers. Ben Simmons and his agent made it clear the three-time All-Star will be holding out until his trade request is met. Training camp will be the first chance for Simmons to back up his word.
If he ultimately doesn’t show up, Doc Rivers will have an important decision to make. Who will take Simmons’ spot in the starting lineup for the Sixers?
Many might like to see Rivers use this as an opportunity to give Tyrese Maxey a larger role, but he might be better off going in a different direction. Maxey is more than capable of sliding into the starting lineup, but his long-term fit is best suited off the bench for the Sixers.
Over the years, the Sixers have desperately needed a guard off the bench who can create offense and score consistently. After what he showed last season, Maxey is that type of player. Even in the bright lights of the postseason, the 2020 first-round pick showed he is going to be a good scorer in this league for years to come.
Getting Maxey comfortable in the sixth-man role should be the primary focus of the Sixers, not using him as a temporary fill-in until Daryl Morey finds a suitable trade for Ben Simmons.
One player Rivers should consider going with is Shake Milton. Since his arrival, Rivers has been extremely high on Milton and his skillset, making this a real possibility for the Sixers.
Milton might be a slightly better fit with the starters than Maxey, primarily because of his outside shot. Maxey has worked tirelessly to become a better three-point shooter, but Milton still has the edge. Last season, he shot 35% from beyond the arc on just over three attempts a game. Milton’s percentage jumped even higher (38.8%) when catching and shooting for the Sixers.
It’s safe to say that when Ben Simmons is eventually traded, it will be for a guard who will be a full-time starter. Since this will only be a temporary situation, it might be better to go with someone who has filled in this role before. Milton filled in as a starter constantly through the years and played well when Brett Brown permanently made him a starter for the Sixers in the bubble.
When it comes to point guard duties, Milton and Seth Curry can run the offense by committee. We could also see Tobias Harris play the point-forward role, something we saw at times last season. Most importantly, having Milton out there puts another capable shooter alongside Joel Embiid that defenses will have to account for.
Rivers has multiple options to fill in for Simmons and likely will give all of them an opportunity, but going with Milton feels like the decision that makes the most sense for the Sixers.