Forget about the booing. Forget about the Game 1 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. If the Philadelphia 76ers want to advance far in the 2019 NBA playoffs, they need to move Ben Simmons to one of the forward positions immediately.
During Game 1 of the playoffs, 9 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Frankly, that is a horrible display for you so-called franchise point guard. Simmons didn’t make any impact in the first game and he looked lost on the court. As a result, the experiment to play him at the point guard position needs to be done with. He shot 4 of 9 from the field. Moreover, Simmons was only 1 of 5 from the free throw line. He also accounted for three turnovers.
But where can the 76ers turn? T.J. McConnell scored 4 points and dished out 3 assists in 15 minutes. He’s been valuable as a spark plug off the bench. Now, he needs to run the show with the starting unit. Maybe the 76ers can get more open floor opportunities against the Nets with McConnell in the lineup. The move will be able to free up Simmons, especially since he struggles to shoot a human-like jump shot from anywhere on the floor.
The move could also put Tobias Harris on the bench as a reserve. Harris scored 4 points on 2 of 7 shooting in the Game 1 loss. He also didn’t attempt a free throw on Saturday. Harris did provide 7 rebounds and 6 assists, but they need him to score. As of now, the 76ers looked repetitive in the starting lineup. It was a bunch of forwards that couldn’t complete decent looks.
And one reason for those struggles fall squarely on Simmons. If he was out here making adept passes on the break, and teammates were finishing with monster dunks or scintillating layups, the 76ers would be fine. However, they appeared to be a shell of a team that relied on too much 3-point shooting. They were 3 of 25 from the 3-point line in Game 1. To put it bluntly, Simmons isn’t going to change that. He is shooting zero percent from beyond the arc. He is 0 of 17 in two NBA seasons. In other words, Simmons isn’t even a threat to shoot from range.
No matter what happens to the 76ers’ lineup, it’s up to Simmons to make a change. Does he have the ability to dribble drive against the Nets’ defense? If not, can he post up the smaller guards? These are questions that need to be answered early and late in Game 2.
Simmons averaged 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game this season. Therefore, you’ve seen flashes of him dominating in the paint. He should also cut to the basket more. Flashing to the middle could create holes in the defense. Standing in one spot is a recipe for disaster. Furthermore, that disaster could result in a 0-2 deficit by Monday night.