Report: Sixers coach Doc Rivers offered Giannis Antetokounmpo role to Ben Simmons
Doc Rivers was part of a Philadelphia 76ers contingent that met with Ben Simmons in Los Angeles earlier in the summer in an attempt to convince the three-time All-Star to stick around despite a trade request. While Simmons wasn’t moved by the Sixers’ presentation and is currently holding out, Rivers made an intriguing pitch: you can be more like Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor has more details on Rivers’ plan for Simmons if he were to stick with the Sixers in 2021-22:
Rivers shared how he planned to use Simmons this upcoming season anyway: Embiid and Simmons would stagger minutes more often, and when Embiid came off the floor, Simmons would play the 5, sharing the frontcourt with Tobias Harris and new addition Georges Niang. Rivers said he wanted to put Simmons in more situations that resemble Giannis Antetokounmpo’s role in Milwaukee, with four shooters surrounding him, empowering him to be a primary scoring option with the second unit. Rivers and Morey, according to sources, said that Simmons and Embiid are the best defensive duo in basketball, and with some slight tweaks, they could be even more productive on the offensive end.
However, O’Connor reports “Simmons wasn’t enthused,” and he echoed the notion that the disgruntled Sixers star simply doesn’t want to be a second fiddle to Joel Embiid anymore. The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported earlier Tuesday that Simmons is done playing with Embiid and wants to go somewhere where an offense can be built around him. O’Connor says that’s the “primary motivation” for the holdout.
Simmons apparently doesn’t want to be used like Giannis Antetokounmpo sometimes, but he wants to be the man all the time. That’s all well and good, and Simmons has shown flashes of offensive dominance without Embiid, but he’s not nearly the player Giannis is, on a number of levels. Simmons is likely talented enough on both ends to lead a good team built around his strengths, but there should be plenty of skepticism about his ability to be the man on an elite team.
The Sixers have been elite when Simmons and Embiid have shared the court, but they haven’t been able to turn that into deep playoff runs. Now, at this point, it’s clear the relationship is done and there will be a trade. We’ll see if the grass is greener on the other side for Ben Simmons.