A number of Australia’s NBA contingent were on court for their respective teams’ season openers with Ben Simmons and Patty Mills among those to savour wins.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a puncher’s chance to make the NBA finals based on sheer talent, but no one is favouring them to take out the Eastern Conference.
Someone who would almost certainly put them over the top is Anthony Davis. The catch is it would take parting with Ben Simmons to get him.
Simmons is an incredible player, but he can’t shoot, as evidenced by Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics using Simmons’ lack of shooting to take him out of the game in the second round of last year’s playoffs.
The trade for Jimmy Butler put the 76ers on a clock and was the official end the ‘the process’, which leaves less time for Simmons to develop his shooting ability. Flipping him for Davis would make the 76ers instant favourites to be champions of the east.
DeMarcus Cousins was regarded the best big man in the game when he joined forces with Davis in New Orleans and the two became one of the deadliest duos in the league until Cousins went down with a ruptured Achilles.
It seemed Davis was alright with taking a step back in order to achieve team success, which would be the same case if the 76ers were to pair Davis and Joel Embiid.
Replacing Simmons with Davis would give Philly an advantage over every team in the league, as the pair would draw most of a team’s attention, leaving All Star Butler with as much freedom as he has ever had, as well as giving JJ Redick more opportunities to find open looks.
Providing Markelle Fultz returns, it wouldn’t be crazy to add him to the starting line-up. Although Fultz isn’t much better of a shooter than Simmons, he would have a far lesser role in the offence, leaving less room for teams to exploit. This leaves TJ McConnell to continue thriving in his sparkplug role off the bench.
The 76ers could have the following starting line-up:
G – Markelle Fultz
G – JJ Redick
F – Jimmy Butler
F – Anthony Davis
C – Joel Embiid
For the Pelicans, they would get a 21-year-old superstar who can be their second chance to become a playoff team. A Simmons and Jrue Holiday backcourt would be one of the better one-two punches in the league, especially on the defensive end.
Provided New Orleans search for a better second unit, Simmons could put the Pelicans in a better spot than they ever have been with Davis.
If Elton Brand calls Dell Demps and puts Simmons on the board, it would be a far better offer than any team could throw together, including the limitless assets held by Danny Ainge and the Celtics.