Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand declared that he has no intention of breaking up the young core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons this offseason. He instead plans to compliment the tandem, according to Brand during his exit interview.
“I’m not looking to trade Ben or Joel. I am looking to complement them better,” Brand explained to the media.
Heading into the 2019-2020 campaign, the 76ers were amongst the favorites to compete for the Eastern Conference crown. Fast forward to today, and they are heading into the offseason riddled with disappointment. They finished with an underwhelming record of 43-30 and got swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round.
The decision for Brand to stick with his cornerstone pieces will come as a surprise to some. Simmons’ lack of a jump shot has forced him and Embiid to clog the paint, resulting in both a predictable and stagnant offensive attack. This has prompted a multitude of pundits to question their coexistence, and whether they actually have a championship ceiling.
Brand’s attempt to pair the young duo with complementary talent will be a daunting task. They have a significant portion of their salary occupied by the contracts of Al Horford and Tobias Harris. Moreover, their lackluster performances in this year’s postseason have made them undesirable trade assets.
Philadelphia should attempt to take a page out of Milwaukee’s playbook and surround their stars with reputable “3 and D” guys. Spacing the floor will optimize the attack of both Embiid and Simmons.
Embiid has been an All-Star each of the past three seasons, and posted 23.0 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game this year. Simmons put up 16.4 points, 8.0 assists, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game, as he made the All-Star team for the second straight season.
The comments of Elton Brand come fresh off the firing of their head coach for seven years, Brett Brown.