The move Sixers should make in the wake of Ben Simmons’ back injury
The Philadelphia 76ers’ championship aspirations were dealt with a huge blow as superstar Ben Simmons will reportedly be out indefinitely due to a back injury. The setback could not have come at a worse time, as fellow Sixers All-Star Joel Embiid seems to be reaching peak form in the team’s last couple of games.
The Sixers’ roster is still deep and talented enough to make it to the postseason even with Simmons sidelined for the time being. The Brett Brown-mentored team is currently in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a 36-22 record.
Simmons’ overall impact on the floor, however, will be dearly missed especially come playoff time. In 54 games, the 23-year-old point-forward has been notching 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 8.2 assists, while knocking down 58.5 percent of his shots from the field.
The Melbourne, Australia-native has also been a terror in the passing lanes, leading the league in steals at 2.1 per game.
Although his production will indeed be hard to replace, Philly must now move on to what’s available in the free agent pool.
The team must prioritize signing an experienced playmaker, who can take on facilitating duties alongside Raul Neto and Alec Burks.
Darren Collison could have been the perfect fit, but he chose to stay retired and focus on returning next season. They also lost on the opportunity to pick up Reggie Jackson, who was quickly snagged by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Lance Stephenson reportedly has his sights on an NBA return after his stint in China. “Born Ready”, however, is and will always be a wild card and Philly might be better off looking at other options.
Enter Tyler Johnson, who remains without an NBA team after getting waived by the Phoenix Suns earlier this month.
The lefty combo guard has developed into quite a serviceable role player since going undrafted in 2014. Johnson has career averages of 10.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 301 games. His best attribute is scoring the basketball, knocking down 50 percent of his field goals and 35.8 percent of his attempts from 3-point country.
The Sixers, however, must free up a roster spot in order for this to come to fruition. Waiving rarely-used third-string center Kyle O’Quinn seems to be a logical choice.
Offering Johnson a 10-day contract also sounds just about right for Philly. They can elect to start Burks and have Johnson come in as his back-up.
It is worth noting that Johnson has had trouble being a floor general in the past. At 6-foot-3, Johnson is a capable defender who can match-up with opposing point guards and even some smaller two guards.
The Sixers can weigh their options based on his performance by offering him a short-term contract in the meantime.
With 24 games remaining int he 2019-20 NBA regular season, the Sixers must act now to improve their chances come playoff time.