Ben Simmons recorded his career-high in points for 42 while also adding 12 assists and nine rebounds.
Despite this incredible performance coupled with the stellar performance by Tobias Harris, the Sixers came up just short of the Jazz, who are the hottest team in the NBA currently.
There was a much more annoying and outdated argument made based on the game against the Utah Jazz: whether or not the Sixers should trade Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid.
For the entirety of their careers playing alongside one another, the narrative of both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid has been that they don’t like each other. And while it seems as though that absurd argument has somewhat died, the argument of whether or not they would be better players without one another will remain with no end in sight.
What should be a day spent rejoicing at the performance of a team that has struggled on a west coast road trip traveling to the best team in the NBA record-wise and taking them to the limit without their best player will be spent analyzing the potential of Simmons and Embiid to exist without one another.
Let’s look at each side because we have seen in the very recent past what a Sixers team would look like when one of these two does not play.
When Ben Simmons does not play, the Sixers are lost both offensively and defensively. While Simmons is not usually known for his incredible scoring outbursts, his ability to push the pace and get to the rim seemingly at will is something that most teams do not have, especially at the guard position. His capabilities with the ball in his hands create open looks for the rest of his team.
Ben also anchors the defense, most of the time guarding the other team’s best offensive player. If you remove Ben from the team, not only does the pace slow down tremendously, but the offense is lost. Not having that elite distributor in the offense hinders not only the usually open shooters but also Joel. Embiid can only handle getting the ball in the post so many times a season before his body would be worn down. Then, removing Ben from the defensive end would be to remove the best defender on the team.
That means that a player would normally have an easier defensive assignment be put onto a much better player, but that is an energy that must be expended at the defensive end that could normally be spent generating offense for the team.
Now, what if we take away Joel Embiid? This is an even easier argument to make.
This current Sixers team has played six games this season without Joel Embiid in the lineup and have won one of them. That is to remove the best offensive player on the team, arguably the biggest mismatch of any player in the NBA, and arguably the NBA MVP to this point in the season. Regardless of the team, if you were to remove their hands-down best player, that is a worse team.
It is impossible to argue that this iteration of the 76ers are better when Joel Embiid is not in the lineup.
Although it will probably never happen, we as Sixers fans can only hope that this argument dies once and for all. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are both incredible players individually.
When you pair the two together, the Sixers are an amazing team.
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