Connect with us


Sixers GM Elton Brand betting on Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris to step up in crunch time

Sixers, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand believes Sixers stars Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris will rise to the occasion in 2019-20 when the game is in the balance.

During the Sixers’ 2019 postseason run, Jimmy Butler had the ball in his hands as the closer and made big play after big play. Butler is now in South Beach with the Miami Heat, meaning Simmons and Harris are going to have to step up in crunch time.

“We are making those bets on those perimeter players,” Brand told Tim Bontemps of ESPN on Friday afternoon. “Of course we’re going to bet on Joel [Embiid] when it’s time to bet on him.

“But I envision they will. I envision them stepping up, for sure, and rising to the occasion when it is crunch time, for sure.”

The Sixers re-signed Tobias Harris to a five-year, $180 million deal. The franchise is likely going to agree to an extension with Ben Simmons worth roughly $170 million. That’s a lot of money tied into two players. Brand, though, is willing to bet the money will be well spent once Harris and Simmons make big plays in the fourth quarter.

Harris averaged 15.5 points in the 2019 playoffs while shooting 42.5 percent from the floor. His usage rate will increase now that Butler is gone. Simmons, who needs to develop a jump shot to be more effective in the half-court, put up 13.9 points in the postseason.