Wednesday, December 8 2021

The Philadelphia 76ers are certainly going to look much different when they take the floor for opening night on Oct. 20 in New Orleans. They will still be a supremely talented team led by Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris, but they will be missing a certain All-Star point guard.

Ben Simmons, who officially requested a trade in late August, has made good on his promise to sit out of training camp as he continues to try and force his way out of Philadelphia. The Sixers are still trying to at least bring him to the team as they figure out a trade on their end and they withheld the $8.25 million owed to him on Friday.

As the team got back to work on Saturday, coach Doc Rivers went into what the team is missing with Simmons no longer with the team. Philadelphia has seemingly handed the reigns over to second-year guard Tyrese Maxey and he is obviously not Simmons.

“Well, obviously you don’t have a versatile guy who gets the ball up the floor with pace and can see the floor with size,” said Rivers. “That’s what Ben did. Tyrese today got into the paint more. The first three days he literally didn’t touch the blue. Now, the defense was good, but he has to live in that paint. Very few people can stay in front of him. So he did that better; that was good.”

Rivers does have a good point when it comes to Simmons. The Sixers have lived off of his ability to get into the teeth of the defense, draw the attention he does, and kick it out to open shooters. Maxey is a different type of point guard as he normally looks for his own shot more than anything and he is still understanding what he has to do as a true point guard.

“Knowing what to call, what to say, how to lead without coming off as too strong and just finding myself,” Maxey explained about being a point guard. “Integrating into that as well, doing what I do, being myself. And also trying to get guys involved, as well.”

That’s just on the offensive end. Switch things over to the other end and the Sixers are missing one of the elite defenders in the league. Simmons has made the All-Defensive Team in two consecutive seasons and he would constantly shut down some of the game’s best scorers when it mattered most for Philadelphia.

“Not as versatile, obviously,” Rivers stated. “We have to do more stuff. We’re working on more situational things defensively, but we’ll be ready for it.”

Maxey made huge strides all season as a rookie on the defensive end of the floor and in the wake of Simmons leaving, there will be more he has to do on that end. He will have to be a huge pest over on that end.

“Just ball pressure, for one,” said Maxey on his defensive focus. “Picking up, doing what I’ve got to do, turning the ball, trying to get into where there’s only 16, 17 seconds on the clock for the offense to run a play in half-court and then just being in the right spots. If the ball screen comes my way, tagging, knowing when to help, when to X-out, different things like that.”

Maxey and the Sixers will have one more day of training camp on Sunday before heading to Toronto to face the Raptors in a preseason matchup on Monday.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!


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