The Sixers have one of the most talented young teams in the NBA. Surely they have a decade to develop and contend for championships, right?
Here are four reasons why the Sixers should consider win-now moves.
1. Joel Embiid’s Health
It’s not that the Sixers have red sirens going off in Wells Fargo Center. It’s just that, we’ve seen situations like this before.
Talented big men with injury issues — this is not a new story line in the NBA. Embiid is a player most fans want to see in the NBA for a long time, but echoes of Bill Walton, Ralph Sampson, Greg Oden, Yao Ming, Andrew Bynum, and many more haunt us.
How many more years of Embiid are we going to get? How many playoff runs? What if 20 years from now we look back at Embiid’s career and this year was his only opportunity at a playoff run?
2. A team’s contention window is always smaller than they think.
And to take it a step further, we never know what might happen with supremely talented young teams. We look back at the Thunder’s playoff runs, and they only had one shot at the championship with their core. After that, they were done because of trades and injuries.
For the Sixers, injuries could derail it. They only have Simmons and Saric under contract for two more years, but will be paying big money to Covington and Embiid. What’s the window? Will they need to move on from one of their young guys like the Thunder did?
3. The readiness of Simmons and Embiid
There are few young players in the NBA that are as ready to compete in the playoffs as Simmons and Embiid. They are already probably top 20 players, and may be competing for All-NBA teams this year. They show maturity beyond their years. They can adapt and perform under pressure. Both guys have potential to lead their team to a championship right now.
4. Looking at the current NBA, how close are the Sixers to getting to the championship in the Eastern Conference?
I think pretty close. They need a legit play-maker/shooter at guard. That would open up the entire court for Simmons and Embiid.
Can the Sixers wait on Fultz to develop? What if you only get a 3-year window with Embiid, but Fultz won’t be ready to compete at a high level until that 3-year window is gone?
With all of that being said, here are two trades that shift the Sixers into “win-now” mode and make them a top 3 Eastern Conference team.
Trades #1: Fultz, Anderson, Johnson, and future protected 1st for McCullom
This trade almost makes too much sense for both teams. The Blazers are not competing in the West. They need to make a big swing. This trade gives them a high upside guy to pair next to Lillard or to start completely over with.
The Sixers trade three guys who have contributed 0 to their team’s success this year and get back one of the premier shot creators in the NBA.
Trade #2: Fultz, Johnson for Paul George
Fultz to OKC could be Westbrook’s new Oladipo/Jackson/Harden. OKC does this, right?
The Sixers start Simmons (6’10”), George (6’10”), Covington (6’9”), Saric (6’10”), and Embiid (7’2”). Nasty.
Nevermind. Some ethics committee somewhere would sue the Sixers for sending a baby like Fultz to be raised by Westbrook.
Here’s to hoping that the Sixers can guess the window correctly, so that we can see Embiid and Simmons in the playoffs together.