Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and…… LeBron James??? This sounds like something that could only happen in 2K, but it’s a lot more realistic than you think. LeBron James can opt out of his contract next season, and if rumors have anything to say about that, he will.
Most of the talk about LeBron leaving the Cavaliers has been focused around the Lakers, but there may be a surprise contender for the NBA’s best player. There’s been a recent report that the 76ers will target LeBron if he becomes a free agent. I was intrigued from the moment I saw this report, wondering if this would be a good move for LeBron.
After pondering how a move to Philadelphia would go for him, I feel that it would be a beneficial move. A move to the 76ers would put LeBron on a team he hoped to have when he came back to Cleveland to play with Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and other young players the Cavs were building around. Below are three reasons why a move to the 76ers would make perfect sense for LeBron.
Younger, Better, More Capable Stars
This young 76ers team has more talent than the Cleveland team LeBron joined a few years back. What LeBron needs at this point in his career is to be surrounded by young stars who he can make better and who can lighten his load. LaMarcus Aldrige is the only 30 year or older player in the league (other than LeBron) who is averaging 20+ points per game right now.
Not only is LeBron one of two 30+ players to average 20+ points, but he’s the only Cavs player currently averaging over 20 points per game. Kevin Love has had some good games, but it’s typically LeBron James who is burdened with carrying the load. LeBron leads the Cavaliers in 4 out of 5 major statistical categories (Points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks). Kevin Love leads the Cavs is rebounds, but everything else is LeBron.
In those same statistical categories, guess which two players lead in all five for the 76ers. Emiid or Simmons lead in every single one. Embiid leads in points, rebounds, and blocks, while Simmons leads in assists and steals. In the points and rebounds category, Simmons is right behind Embiid.
On a 76ers team with Embiid and Simmons, LeBron would have two teammates capable of scoring 20+ points on any given night. Embiid currently averages 22.9 points per game. Simmons is averaging under 20 per game right now (18.6), but it’s his first NBA season and he’ll only get better.
Scoring is what most people see and care about, but basketball is more than scoring. With LeBron on this team, not only would there be 3 players capable of scoring 20+ points per game, but also 3 players capable of averaging 8+ rebounds, two players capable of averaging 7+ assists, 3 players capable of averaging 1+ steals, and 3 players capable of averaging 1+ blocks. Can you imagine the load taken off LeBron James?
Younger, Better, More Capable Supporting Cast
Not only are the 76ers star players younger and better than what the Cavs have, but their bench is also younger and better. We saw last year in the NBA Finals when the Cavaliers bench got outplayed by the Warriors. Why? The Cavs bench is old. Dwyane Wade, Channing Fyre, Kyle Korver, Jose Calderon, etc.
The 76ers bench/role players consists of younger players such as Robert Covington, Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric, and more. LeBron James is one of few players who can play at an elite level at an older age. These young players he’s surrounded by would allow them to really compete with younger teams. He can’t continue to have a bench full of old players who get run out of the gym by the Warriors.
The one down side to having younger players, is having less experience. The 76ers are on the rise, but they don’t have a proven record of winning just yet. They’re still learning and gaining the necessary experience to become an elite team. The play, knowledge, and leadership of LeBron would most likely cancel that inexperience out though. It sure has in the past.
Stay in the Eastern Conference
Lets be honest, unless LeBron James joins the Warriors, he’s probably not going to the NBA Finals with a Western Conference team, especially not the Lakers. Of course there’s always a chance when you’ve got LeBron, but his chances would be much higher in the Eastern Conference.
Anyone who wants to win in the Eastern Conference must go through LeBron James, regardless of what team he’s on. Just like any team who acquires new players, it would probably take time for LeBron, Simmons, and Embiid to really learn how to play with each other, but as long as they had LeBron they’d be in great shape.
This Could Actually Happen
As of right now, we don’t really know how serious the 76ers are about targeting LeBron, but who wouldn’t want to target him? We also don’t know how serious LeBron would be about playing for the 76ers. It would make perfect sense for James.
LeBron told Ben Simmons “You have an opportunity to be better than me.” Playing along side James would help Simmons get to that point. If I’m LeBron, it would be very difficult to pass up an opportunity to play with someone I felt had a chance to be better than me. Who knows what LeBron is thinking at this point. We still have a long way to go before this story could get really interesting, but for now all we can is think about the possibility of what could be.