Is It Time To Worry About 76ers Without Ben Simmons?

Philadelphia 76ers, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Philadelphia 76ers have made enough progress with NBA All-Star Ben Simmons that he is no longer the headline topic of discussion. He reported to the team and they are awaiting his return to the court as he gets help to mentally prepare for the season and heal his ailing back.

It has been four games and counting without their starting point guard, and it has been a mixed bag thus far. The team is 2-2, but could easily be 3-1 had they not suffered a complete collapse down the stretch against the Brooklyn Nets.

The loss to the Knicks was one they really had no chance in, as head coach Doc Rivers spoke rather candidly after the game. He praised New York for their performance in the game, saying they were just the better team.

He doubled down, heaping praise on the Knicks’ new backcourt, Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier. He praised their playmaking and how lacking the 76ers are in that regard. 

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Was that a cry for help from Rivers to Simmons? Simmons is the team’s point guard and best playmaker. Rivers would assuredly love to get him back in the lineup sooner than later. While it seems as if he is ready to sound the alarm, it is not yet time to worry about the 76ers.

It was going to be a major adjustment without Simmons, not only their starting point guard but ace defender, not being in the lineup. The team has new players, such as Tyrese Maxey, in expanded roles for the first time in their careers.

Offensively, despite what Rivers said, is not where the team has struggled. They are third in the NBA currently in offensive rating. It is on the defensive side of the ball they have been lacking, as they are 21st in defensive rating.

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That is the exact kind of swing that was expected. Without Simmons, many presumed their offense would get better with improved spacing and more aggressive shot-taking from the point guard position. But, what would be the cost defensively?

Philadelphia plays seven of their next nine games at home. If they come out of that stretch with a losing record, then maybe then it might be time to worry about them. But, the time to worry is not yet upon us.

This is aPhiladelphia 76ers team making a major adjustment without a key player only four games into the season. Some bumps in the road were expected and had they held onto the win against the Nets, the discussions involving the team may be a little different.