Panic Time on Simmons and Embiid or Simple Overreaction?

On Tuesday night, the Sixers dropped their 2nd straight game against Toronto and fell behind 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Philadelphia looked the worst they have all postseason, losing by almost 40pts, and the main topic at hand was the ineffectiveness from Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

Both players have been wildly inconsistent in this series. Simmons has two showings in which he failed to reach 10pts and Embiid, who was the #4 leading scorer in the NBA during the regular season, is averaging just 17PPG on 41% shooting from the field.

Career Playoff numbers:
Ben Simmons – 14.8PPG 6.9APG 8.2RPG 54%FG
Joel Embiid – 20.9PPG 11.4RPG 2.0BPG 44%FG

Through two playoff stints thus far, the young stars have dominated against inferior teams in the 1st round while struggling against more well rounded teams in the latter. Should this be a worry though?

Joel Embiid is 25yrs old while Simmons is just 22. Although we should demand excellence out of these cornerstone players, we also must be patient. It’s no secret that it takes time to adjust and excel in the NBA, especially in the postseason. Take a look at these two lead MVP candidates below during their first two playoff appearances compared to now:

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis has most certainly transformed himself into a top 5 player this season and has continued that dominance in the playoffs. Before his immense transformation though, Giannis wasn’t so dominant and found himself struggling a bit. Below are his first two playoff appearances lined up with his current stint:

2015 & 2017 – 18.1PPG 9RPG 46%FG 37MPG
Current – 27.4PPG 11.4RPG 52%FG 31.4MPG

James Harden

Starting his career off as a 6th man for Oklahoma City, Harden was able to escape hard criticism from the media as a top lottery pick. The young combo guard did get more than enough playing time off the bench though and the results weren’t anything to rave about.

2010 & 2011 – 10.3PPG 2.7APG 3.9RPG 42%FG 25.8MPG
Current – 31.3PPG 6.8APG 6.8RPG 41%FG 38.5MPG

Now this isn’t to say that Embiid and Simmons should be exempt from criticism because they absolutely deserve it. The takes that the Sixers should trade one of the two is taking it too far though.

Joel Embiid is arguably the most dominant big man in the NBA while Ben Simmons has already become an All-Star in only his 2nd year of playing. These two will likely be around for a long time as they should be, and we shouldn’t want to chase them out of town because they came up short in the playoffs this early in their careers.

Game 6 in Philadelphia tips off at 8pm tonight. It’s a win or go home situation for Simmons, Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Featured Image: David Dow/NBAE via

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