Philadelphia 76ers: No Ben Simmons is good news for Andre Drummond

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia 76ers are in a weird spot at the start of training camp.

Down their long-time starting point guard, Doc Rivers has had to get creative to field a competent set of squads to duke it out.

Thus far, the results have been interesting.

Fielding a pair of squads with Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton running the point, the Sixers have found themselves in the unique situation of actually four shooters surrounding Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond in the paint, even if neither option is quite as effective in the passing department as they player they’re replacing.

But, in a weird twist of fate, there is another surprise player who is apparently a big winner of the Ben Simmons holdout situation; one who doesn’t even play in the backcourt.

The Philadelphia 76ers had a very interesting idea to utilize Ben Simmons.

When asked about how he planned to use Ben Simmons if he miraculously shows up to the Philadelphia 76ers’ training facility any time soon, Doc Rivers left little to the imagination.

Per Kevin O’Conner of The Ringer,

"Embiid and Simmons would stagger minutes more often, and when Embiid came off the floor, Simmons would play the 5, sharing the frontcourt with Tobias Harris and new addition Georges Niang. Rivers said he wanted to put Simmons in more situations that resemble Giannis Antetokounmpo’s role in Milwaukee, with four shooters surrounding him, empowering him to be a primary scoring option with the second unit."

Hmm… okay then.

While this isn’t a particularly unique take or one that hasn’t been tried before, the idea of staggering Simmons and Embiid to maximize the former’s offensive abilities makes sense. Simmons is a good driver and an impressive finisher around the rim when he isn’t afraid of getting fouled. Subbing out Embiid for a 3 point specialist like Georges Niang would sure give him more room to operate in the paint and an extra outlet pass on the wings.

Granted, the insertion of Niang at small forward wouldn’t help the team’s efforts on the glass or in the paint, as the team’s prized free agent isn’t much of a rebounder and has never really been asked to contest shots around the net, but maybe being afforded a Giannis-esque opportunity would be enough for Simmons to lock in on defense and embrace being the best positionless defender in the league, not just the best one on the wings.

If that happened and Simmons played, say, 10 minutes in the paint a game when Embiid was out of action, what would that have meant for Andre Drummond, who was surely signed with the promise of being Embiid’s primary backup?

Fortunately, we – and Andre Drummond – will likely never know, as, according to O’Conner, Simmons’ camp was disinterested in said plan and it’s effectively DOA.

Instead, Drummond will now be afforded an opportunity to set picks for everyone from Seth Curry to Shake Milton, Tyrese Maxey, and even Tobias Harris if need be while getting to test his mettle every single game against Embiid at practice.

Between you and me, that sounds a whole lot better than playing 10ish minutes a night as the team’s third-stringer behind Simmons and Embiid.

Now, that opportunity will fall on Charles Bassey, which is really what he was drafted to do.

dark. Next. Ben Simmons’ style isn’t conducive to Joel Embiid

Last season, the Philadelphia 76ers attempted to pair up Ben Simmons with Dwight Howard, and it did not work. The lineup lacked shooting, the paint was clogged, and it just generally stopped the offense in its tracks. While the initial signing of Andre Drummond left some people scratching their heads, as it felt like a slightly younger rehash of the same failed idea, it’s at least encouraging that Doc Rivers thought through his backup center spot a bit more this year than last, even if the idea won’t come to fruition.