NBA

How Far Can the 76ers Go in the Playoffs Without Ben Simmons?

The Philadelphia 76ers received some news that they did not want to hear. All-Star Ben Simmons will be out indefinitely with a subluxation of his left patella. Now the 76ers will have to play without one of their top players for possibly the remainder of the season and going into the playoffs.

The absence of Simmons could affect the 76ers chances in the playoffs.

The 76ers were high on Ben Simmons before he came into the NBA

Going into the 2016 NBA draft, there was no question that the 76ers were taking Simmons with the first pick. Simmons displayed a lot of skill and talent during his time in college at LSU, and that could easily translate over to the NBA. The 76ers looked forward to seeing what Simmons can do in his first year in the NBA. During the 2016 NBA Summer League, Simmons displayed his passing ability and court awareness, though he shot poorly from the field. Despite his poor shooting, Simmons still proved to have an impact on the court.

Simmons was ready to start his NBA career, but during the 76ers final scrimmage in training camp, he rolled his right ankle. After receiving an X-ray and MRI of his foot and ankle, Simmons suffered a fracture in his right foot. He was estimated to miss three or four months, but he missed the entire season because tests showed that his broken right foot did not heal properly. So, Simmons was sidelined for the 2016-17 season, not the ideal situation that he wanted to be in. He made his NBA debut during the 2017-18 season.  

In his first NBA game, he had 18 points and 10 rebounds in a season-opening loss to the Washington Wizards. Simmons got off to a good start in his first year, and he became the only player in NBA history to begin a season with at least 170 points, 100 rebounds, and 80 assists in his team’s first 10 games. He went on to be named the Rookie of the Year in 2018 after averaging 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists.

Ben Simmons continues to play at a high-level and making his first All-Star team

In Simmons’ second season, he continued to display his talents on the court. At 6-foot-10, Simmons can play multiple positions. He’s very comfortable playing the point guard position, and he has a high basketball IQ. He can defend multiple positions as well. Though he does not shoot the ball well, Simmons can get to the rim and finish with contact. He also is effective in the transition game. In his second season, he was named to his first All-Star team and finished the season averaging 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 1.4 steals.

During the 2019-20 season, he made the All-Star team for the second consecutive team. Through 57 games, he averaged 16.4 points, eight assists, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 steals. The 76ers have been a contender in the Eastern Conference since Simmons joined the team. Along with Joel Embiid, the two have been the top players on the 76ers team the past few seasons.

How far can the 76ers go without Ben Simmons?

Losing Simmons is a huge blow for Philadelphia. With Simmons out, the 76ers lost out on their ball handler and a player who makes the right decisions on the court. Simmons led the team in assists, was second in rebounding, and third in points. The 76ers will look to another player to step up and fill Simmons’ place, although that will be a challenge for sure.

Going into the playoffs, the 76ers can end up anywhere from the No. 3 seed to the No. 6 seed, depending on how they finish the regular season and how other teams finish. Without Simmons, it will be a challenge for the team. Look for Embiid to step up more, and he’ll likely have the ball in his hands more on offense. It’ll be a battle in the first round for the 76ers whoever they play, especially without Simmons. It wouldn’t be a surprise if they lost in the first round, not having their starting point guard available.