While fans of the Philadelphia 76ers are eager for the club to trade Ben Simmons, the organization clearly isn't in a rush, and apparently neither is the team's best player. Speaking after Philadelphia's 111-99 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday night, All-Star center Joel Embiid made it clear that he's happy with the Sixers as currently constructed -- even without Simmons' services.
"When I look at where we are when we got most of the team in the lineup, especially me in the lineup, then we are 21 and 9," Embiid said, via ESPN. "That's not bad. That's up there with the best records in the NBA. So, all that tells me is that we just got to stay healthy, keep doing what we've been doing.
"I feel pretty good, and I don't think we've played our best basketball yet. We still got a long way to go. We're missing guys here and there that could really help us. There's really no urgency to change anything. I think we got everything we need. We're gonna keep on going and I'm happy."
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Embiid clearly isn't putting any public pressure on the organization to make a move involving Simmons prior to the NBA's trade deadline on Feb. 10, and he hasn't done so behind closed doors, either, according to a league source. But, does he truly believe that the Sixers are good enough to compete for an NBA title without Simmons or additional talent acquired by trading him? Here's what he had to say about that:
"I think so.. I think we all gotta, we all gotta be our best. And when we are at our best, I think we can beat anybody. We've seen it a couple of times this year. So, I just think we need to, I need to keep doing what I've been doing and then obviously we need consistency from everybody... We need consistency, and everybody coming in every single night with the goal of just doing their job and chipping in offensively and defensively and just playing together and we'll be fine."
Embiid's stellar play this season is a huge part of the reason that the Sixers have been able to remain respectable in Simmons' absence. The big man was named the NBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December, and he recently tied Philadelphia's franchise record for consecutive 30-plus point performances with eight. He's right in the thick of the MVP conversation for the second straight season, and as long as he's out on the floor, the Sixers have a chance to win any given game.
The play of second-year guard Tyrese Maxey has also been a bright spot for the Sixers this season. Maxey stepped into the vacancy in the starting lineup left by Simmons, and has taken full advantage of the opportunity. On the season, Maxey is averaging 16.8 points, 4.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game for the Sixers. He's quickly become a fan favorite in Philadelphia in the process.
It remains to be seen if the duo of Embiid and Maxey will be enough to propel the Sixers on a deep playoff run, or if the Sixers will get them some added help by flipping Simmons prior to the deadline. In the meantime, it doesn't seem like the organization is facing any added pressure from the franchise cornerstone.