By Peter Gleason
The Sixers have gotten off to a quick 14-6 start, good enough to lead the Eastern Conference, and they look NBA title-worthy.
Their hopes will come down to the two stars:
Joel Embiid, who is in the MVP convo, and Ben Simmons, who is not.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went on First Take to discuss the Sixers and their title hopes and he puts it all on Simmons and him finding a jump shot:
“What it comes down to is Ben Simmons being on the court and being a threat offensively. If he’s a threat, if he’s somebody that you have to pay attention to, it’s going to free up shot opportunities for other people, including Embiid, along with others. If you don’t do that, you essentially get to play 4-on-5 basketball against the Philadelphia 76ers, particularly with Ben Simmons not being a perimeter threat.
“We know he can take the ball into the hole and finish at the basket and score there, but when you can score from the perimeter, it opens the floodgates for you offensively. And that’s what Ben Simmons needs to do.
“I don’t care what anybody says. Speaking to Daryl Morey last night, acknowledged it to some degree, obviously, Doc Rivers thinks otherwise, you have to in my estimation, be able to shoot jump shots in order for you to win the chip, if you are the Philadelphia 76ers.
“You need Ben Simmons to be able to be some kind of threat to keep opposing defenses honest, if not, it will come back to bite you when it really counts, not during the regular season. Not during the early rounds of the playoffs, but eventually it will come back to bite you against the elite teams.