With the 2018 NBA Draft approaching, it’s time to start thinking about the 76ers. What better way to do that than to start thinking about what could have been had the Sixers gotten on the phone with Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum?
Yes, the Philadelphia 76ers did pass on Jayson Tatum, and the move definitely hasn’t worked out so far. Both the franchise and the player have suffered heartbreaking playoff fizzleouts in recent years. On the other hand, the Celtics have made it to the Eastern Conference Finals three times over the past four years, while the 76ers — the 2015 NBA champs — have not even been to the postseason in over three decades.
Last month, the Philadelphia 76ers had a very enticing situation on their hands. They had an excellent draft, and a young, promising talent to build around. However, they passed up Jayson Tatum as the No. 3 pick, and it’s been nothing but playoff frustration since.If only the Philadelphia 76ers could hit the rewind button. They’ll probably use it a few times, but probably from 2017. Then the Boston Celtics got the first pick in the NBA draft and struck a deal with their Eastern Conference rivals. They also waved and missed. Philadelphia sent a first round pick to Boston and moved up two spots, taking Markell Fultz. They traded Jason Tatum, the Celtics’ third-round pick, and Philadelphia has been a postseason disappointment ever since.
Jason Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics defends against Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the second half at TD Garden on the 6th floor. April 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
There was no obvious No. 1 in the 2017 NBA Draft. Two defensemen, Fultz and Lonzo Ball, received the highest marks and ended up being the first two players selected. Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations at the time, was intrigued by Tatum against all odds. Ange and the Celtics had the coveted first pick and eventually reached a deal with the 76ers.
Tatum, along with Donovan Mitchell, who was picked 13th, was the superstar of that draft four years ago. Fultz’s career has been a disaster due to injuries. He played in 14 games as a rookie, limited by a shoulder injury. He spent two seasons with the Sixers before moving to the Orlando Magic. He has only played in eight games this year due to a torn ACL.
Tatum, meanwhile, is on the rise in the NBA. He’s a two-time NBA All-Star and gets better every year. This year, Tatum is averaging 26.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. Although the Sixers finished in first place in the Eastern Conference, they were defeated by the Atlanta Hawks in the Conference semifinals. It’s hard to imagine the Sixers team of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jason Tatum being sent home this early.
Embiid and Simmons were the dominant duo – during the regular season. In the past four years, both teams have had success during the season, but never reached the Eastern Conference finals. They were the number one team in the East this year, but the Atlanta Hawks ended their season in the second round after seven games.
Embiid was reliable. Simmons did not live up to his hopes of being the best player selected in the 2016 NBA Draft. Frustration has clearly gotten the better of Embiid, who seems to be paid to complain. After another early season ending, he started talking about officiating.
I told the umpires to go for both options, Embiid said after Game 6, according to Sports Illustrated. We had a couple of guys, whether it was Ben or Tobias, who got fouls, I don’t think he fouled out. And when it comes to us, we don’t get the same. I just want it to be mentioned from both sides. If you don’t yell at your playmaker, we should too.
Embiid continued that trend after his team lost Game 7.
All sorts of things went wrong, Embiid said. Either they can violate me all they want, or it’s the officiating today. Guys make a foul, hands up, I dunk, and they don’t call anything. In the last three games, this has been the case time and time again. Then in the last game I got penalized for sticking my arms out when I got pushed in the back. I was fined, just because I don’t know why. A lot of things have gone wrong.
The Philadelphia 76ers have decided not to trade Ben Simmons for James Harden.
This is a real case that really happened. And right now, Trae Young is a much better player than Simmons. A total disaster for Philadelphia.
– John Reecer (@JReecerBGDN) 17 June 2021
Simmons isn’t that good. He hasn’t lived up to expectations, and he’s no longer the man they once called a superstar. However, he is the player most likely to leave if they want to turn things around with a significant move. Embiid is their cornerstone, and Tobias Harris will not be moved because he has three years of his max contract left.
Simmons still has value, but it’s fading fast. Now he’s become a guy who needs other pieces to bring back a player like Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard. This has never happened before.
Doc Rivers has a reputation for not being able to win a big game. Last year, as head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, he suffered an embarrassing defeat. He has now lost at home in the seventh game of the second round first pick. If the Sixers plan on making a change, Simmons is the one to go. There would have been no reason to rearrange things if the Sixers had made just one small change in 2017 and selected Tatum instead of Fultz.
COMPARED TO: Has Jason Tatum really grown two inches since last season?The Philadelphia 76ers have been a mess from the start of the 2017-18 season. They’re a team that was supposed to be good and ended up being bad. The team finished the season with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, and they have no real excuse for it. They traded one of the best young players in the NBA, Markelle Fultz, for a first round pick that never materialized. They also gave up on another one of their talented players as well, point guard Dario Saric, who was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves.. Read more about where is jayson tatum from and let us know what you think.
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