LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both named in the All-NBA First Team on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Lakers prepare to face the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

The All-NBA selections were announced as the playoffs hot up in Orlando, although the Lakers duo were the only remaining members of the First Team.

James and Davis were joined by James Harden, whose Houston Rockets they beat in the second round, along with reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic.

MVP candidates James and Antetokounmpo were both unanimous votes.

The Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard and playoff nemesis Nikola Jokic headlined the Second Team. Jokic led the Nuggets past the Clippers on Tuesday to complete another remarkable series fightback.

Damian Lillard was also included after carrying the Portland Trail Blazers into the postseason, alongside veteran Chris Paul, who impressed following his trade from the Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Pascal Siakam - disappointing in the playoffs for defending champions the Toronto Raptors - made up the selection.

Meanwhile, in the Third Team, the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum and the Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler are both still alive as Eastern Conference Finals opponents.

Russell Westbrook, part of the Paul trade, got recognition, too, and was joined by Rudy Gobert and Ben Simmons, the latter ending the season injured.

"Trust the Process" but where to now for the Philadelphia 76ers?

That mantra has become synonymous with the team's culture and identity since former 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie started a drastic rebuild of Philadelphia's roster and psyche in 2013.

The long-term vision, in pursuit of a first NBA championship since 1983, has delivered stars Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and two trips to the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

However, the 76ers find themselves looking for a head coach after Brett Brown – who was at the helm as Philadelphia tanked out and started from the bottom seven years ago – was sacked following a first-ever series sweep at the hands of rivals the Boston Celtics.

While the 76ers were forced to face the Celtics without Simmons due to injury, Philadelphia's failure has only raised further questions as to whether they should trade the Australian or Embiid amid ongoing doubts over the All-Star pair's compatibility.

Jimmy Butler also came and went, while the Al Horford experiment has proved to be an expensive mistake so far.

As GM Elton Brand tries to get the 76ers back on track, with the likes of Tyronn Lue and Jason Kidd linked to the coaching vacancy, we look at the issues facing the team heading into 2020-21 using STATS data.

 

Keeping Embiid and Simmons fit

One of the main issues for the 76ers has been the health of big man Embiid and guard Simmons – franchise pillars.

While much has been made of Embiid and Simmons' chemistry, with spacing the floor a problem for Brown, their fitness issues mean they have only played in 184 of 345 games since the latter was drafted first by the 76ers in 2016.

When Embiid and Simmons play, the 76ers boast a 119-65 win-loss record. But without one or both, they greatly suffer (67-94), Embiid's physicality in the paint and Simmons' superior defensive skills vital in Philadelphia.

The 76ers average 111.7 points, 107.5 opposition points, 47.4 rebounds and 26.4 assists per game with Embiid and Simmons involved, a clear improvement compared to when one or both miss a game – 106.7 points, 109.4 opposition points, 44.5 rebounds and 25.0 assists.

Philadelphia also have a superior field goal percentage (46.9) when Embiid and Simmons both play, with the 76ers shooting just 45.3 per cent. Opposition numbers also go up in their absence – field goal percentage (44.3 to 46.2) and three-point percentage (34.1 to 35.5).

 

Simmons and his shooting woes

Simmons is an elite defender and creator with unrivalled pace, but his shooting struggles have left him stuck between a star and superstar.

There have been signs of a shooter behind all of his usual brilliance, however Simmons' jump-shot is too few and far between.

Previously compared to LeBron James, Simmons does not shoot threes or free throws well – his career free-throw percentage of 59.3 is the worst in NBA history by a guard with at least 1,000 attempts.

And his career three-point percentage (two-for-24, 8.3) is the lowest among all guards who debuted in the NBA in 2000 or later (minimum 20 attempts).

Simmons, 24, also signed a five-year, $170million max contract prior to the 2019-20 campaign.

 

Embiid not so clutch?

The third pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Embiid has established himself as one of the best big men in the league but he has still been criticised for his lack of consistency and poor fitness at times. Nicknamed 'The Process', the 26-year-old knows there is room for improvement.

Embiid wanted to carry the 76ers in the absence of Simmons and while averaging 30.0 points and 12.3 rebounds per game in the playoffs – an increase on his regular-season averages of 23.0 points and 11.6 rebounds, which were a dip on his 2018-19 numbers – and he looked worn out.

There could be some concern that he does not play well at the end of close games. In his career – regular season and playoffs – Embiid has had 17 potential game-tying or go-ahead shots in the last 30 seconds of the fourth quarter and overtime, and he is just one-for-17.

The only shot he made was a dunk against the Cleveland Cavaliers in November 2019.

The Philadelphia 76ers are not looking to trade Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid following their elimination from the NBA playoffs, general manager Elton Brand said.

Head coach Brett Brown was sacked after the 76ers were swept 4-0 by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the postseason and the team is reportedly looking at further changes to the front office.

However, Brand has no plan to move on from either of the All-Star duo of Simmons and Embiid.

"I'm not looking to trade Ben or Joel, I'm looking to complement them better," said Brand. "They are 24 and 26 years old respectively, you try to make that fit as long as you can.

"They want to be here, they want to be with our organisation, and I see them here for a long, long time."

Simmons sat out the playoffs after suffering a subluxation in the left knee at the NBA bubble in Orlando and Embiid was unable to inspire a deep run that could have seen his team-mate return to the court.

Both players are under contract for at least the next three seasons and Brand plans to discuss with them how they feel the team should look going forward.

Brand acknowledged that 'The Process', the nickname given to the period in which Philadelphia rebuilt by tanking and acquiring draft capital, could now be deemed a failure.

"It didn't produce the results we expected. It's a results-based business and we're trying to right those wrongs and make sure we do better," he said.

"Currently, yes, we failed. But are we going to do everything to position ourselves to win? Yes."

A key factor in the Sixers' path forward will be the appointment of a new head coach, so Brand will not make a hasty decision.

He said: "We're not going to be in a rush because this is a pivotal point for our organisation. We're at a crossroads right now, so this hire is extremely important. There's not going to be a rush.

"All options are open. No one is in the lead, but I look forward to these interviews because there are going to be some talented people out there."

A lack of perimeter shooting has been a persistent issue for the 76ers, while Al Horford failed to gel with Embiid after arriving on a four-year, $109million contract.

Asked if Horford can fit into the line-up, Brand said: "That's for the next coach to make that decision and determination on how the line-ups work.

"Al Horford can fit on an NBA-calibre championship team. Whatever that role is, we're going to have to figure it out. But he can fit."

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown is optimistic All-Star Joel Embiid will return to the court before the NBA playoffs get underway.

Embiid will sit out Philadelphia's clash against the Phoenix Suns in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday due to an ankle injury.

The three-time All-Star hurt his left ankle in the opening quarter of Sunday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at Walt Disney World Resort.

Philadelphia – sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 42-28 record – conclude their regular-season campaign against defending champions the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday and the Houston Rockets on Friday.

Brown, though, is hopeful Embiid will play prior to the postseason, telling reporters on Monday: "I do expect him to [play before playoffs], that's just one man’s opinion.

"Nobody's doing cartwheels over if something severe, but I do believe it would be good for him to play for the playoffs begin."

Embiid has been averaging 23.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the 76ers this season.

Meanwhile, fellow 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons underwent surgery and is expected to miss the remainder of the campaign.

The 76ers said Simmons had surgery to remove a loose body in his left knee, with the Australian set to begin rehabilitation in Philadelphia immediately.

 

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons will undergo surgery on his left knee to repair an injury he suffered on Wednesday, the team announced on Saturday.  

The 76ers did not announce a timetable for Simmons' return but ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported they have not given up hope that the former number one overall pick could return in the case of a deep playoff run.  

The most likely outcome, however, is that Simmons' 2019-20 season is finished. 

Simmons left Philadelphia's game against the Washington Wizards midway through the third quarter after suffering the injury while trying to grab a loose ball.

He was diagnosed with a subluxation of the left patella – a partial dislocation of the kneecap. Further testing discovered a loose body in the knee, prompting Simmons, the team and their medical staff to choose surgery as the best treatment option.  

Even under the most optimistic return scenario for the two-time All-Star, the news is a major blow to the title chances of a talented but inconsistent 76ers team.  

Simmons is averaging 16.4 points, 8.0 assists and 7.8 rebounds this season, and his 35.4 minutes per game leads the team.  

He recently had his role on the team changed, starting at power forward instead of point guard, where coach Brett Brown added Shake Milton to the starting five.

It is likely that Philadelphia will add Al Horford to the starting lineup.  

The 76ers are 35-22 this season with Simmons in the lineup and 7-5 when he sits out, although their offense has been slightly more efficient with Simmons on the bench.

Philadelphia are 3-1 in the NBA's restart in Orlando but their toughest opponents still lie ahead. They have clinched a playoff spot and cannot fall lower than the number six seed in the Eastern Conference.

Ben Simmons is out indefinitely after suffering a subluxation of the left patella in the Philadelphia 76ers' 107-98 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.

A subluxation is a partial and temporary dislocation, and similar injuries reportedly require a recovery period of several weeks. 

"This one stings for sure," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said on Thursday. "We all felt like, with the pandemic and are we going to play again, it obviously bought time for Ben.

"In relation to sort of being incredibly down about it, I'm not. I feel numb to it."

Simmons was injured in the third quarter against the Wizards, appearing to tweak his knee after grabbing his sixth rebound of the game. At the next stoppage of play, he limped straight to the locker room. 

He is now looking at treatment options, and Brown expects the team will be able to put a timeline on his rehab by Friday.

"Some of the information is fluid, it's still moving," Brown said. "In relation to saying any type of deadline, timeline, playoff, whatever, I'm not in a position to offer anything. Not because we don't want to, but stuff is still being evaluated.

"What I do know — it's boring, but we play Orlando [Magic] tomorrow and we don't have him. That's kind of all I know at this point."

In his third full season in the NBA in 2019-20, the 24-year-old Simmons made his second All-Star team, averaging 16.4 points, 8.0 assists and 7.8 rebounds in 57 games. The 76ers went 35-22 with Simmons in the lineup, and 6-5 in games he did not play. 

"Ben is an incredible player, an incredible athlete," Sixers point guard Shake Milton said. "A superhuman. So hopefully he's able to heal superfast and get back out on the court, because we need him."

Philadelphia have already clinched a playoff berth and entered Thursday's play a game back of the Indiana Pacers for the Eastern Conference's fifth seed. 

The Philadelphia 76ers are waiting to discover the extent of a knee injury Ben Simmons suffered in a 107-98 NBA victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.

Simmons left the court in the third quarter, having appeared to tweak his knee after taking a rebound.

The two-time All-Star limped to the locker room and was unable to return.

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown was unsure over how much damage the Australian point guard has done after the game.

"We don't know," Brown said. "I'm sure the club will make some announcement.

"But as far as knowing more than that, I don't. Obviously I'm very curious."

The 76ers are back in action against the Orlando Magic on Friday.

Brett Brown was unsure about the severity of Ben Simmons' knee injury in the Philadelphia 76ers' win over the Washington Wizards.

Simmons left Wednesday's 107-98 victory in the third quarter after hurting his knee.

The two-time All-Star had eight points, six rebounds and four assists before the injury.

Philadelphia head coach Brown was waiting to hear more about how serious Simmons' injury was.

"We don't know. I'm sure the club will make some announcement," he said.

"But as far as knowing more than that, I don't. Obviously I'm very curious."

The 76ers are sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 41-27 record.

Brett Brown said the Philadelphia 76ers are "very fortunate" to have NBA All-Star Ben Simmons, who continues to impress his head coach.

Brown has repeatedly praised Simmons as the 76ers step up their preparations for the NBA's return following the coronavirus-enforced break.

Philadelphia will return to action against Eastern Conference rivals the Indiana Pacers on August 1 at the Disney World complex in Orlando, boosted by the comeback of Simmons following a back injury.

Simmons was averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game before the injury in February and 76ers coach Brown hailed the 24-year-old on his birthday.

"To be a two-time NBA All-Star to be discussed in a very serious way as a Defensive Player of the Year to certainly be on an All-League Defensive Team to being rewarded with a max contract to come in and play a point guard primary ball-handler position all along that path achieving some of those things that I just said and then be able to pivot out and play an interior position, the versatility that I just discussed and then be rewarded is off the charts unique," said Brown. "His better days are well and truly ahead of him.

"The foundation that he has already established at such an incredibly young age, I don't think gets the full praise that it should.

"I think that the Philadelphia 76ers are very fortunate to have him in our uniform for I'm sure a very long time.

"Just think about that age and when you start referencing some of the other great players in our league, just from a statistics or acknowledgment perspective if you start draping championships at what age did these other great players experience championship success, you're going to find there's a commonality of about 28-years old seems to be the honey spot. He just turned 24."

The 76ers are sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 39-26 record – identical to that of the Pacers – and adrift of the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12), defending champions the Toronto Raptors (46-18), Boston Celtics (43-12) and Miami Heat (41-24).

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown is thrilled with Ben Simmons in the power forward position as the championship hopefuls look to change things up when the coronavirus-affected NBA season resumes.

The 2019-20 NBA campaign is set to restart via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30 after the season was postponed due to COVID-19 in March.

Philadelphia will return to action against Eastern Conference rivals the Indiana Pacers on August 1, boosted by the comeback of All-Star Simmons.

Simmons – averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game this season – is back to full fitness after a back injury sidelined him in February, showcasing his ability at power forward, having played as a point guard.

"He's so dynamic," Philadelphia's Brown said on a conference call with reporters on Monday. "Let's just talk about running. There's nobody faster in the NBA. So to always have the ball and dribble it up against five guys ... to do that dilutes some of his potent weapons.

"So, watching him fly up the floor, watching him and Joel [Embiid] play off each other, has been a really good look. I think they've been fantastic together."

Brown, whose 76ers (39-26) are sixth in the Eastern Conference, added: "You take somebody and say, 'Here's the ball.' It's not like Ben came in and we had Chris Paul on the team or Damian Lillard on the team. We were young, and really not that good, so it was my decision, 'You take the ball. We're going to make you the point guard.' It's not like there was an established point guard that he had to bump out.

"[And] how has he responded to that? Like a star. Just a mature, 'Whatever it's going to take to get this team to be the best it can be with the pieces that we have that can be, I don't know, just designed into a smooth thing' ... that is one of the pieces he has to offer. He's been great accepting that, and really killing it in the environment that I just said."

With the 76ers trialling Simmons at power forward, it means Shake Milton is set to replace the Australian as point guard, leaving Al Horford on the bench following his struggles since arriving from the Boston Celtics.

Milton has averaged 9.5 points, 2.2 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game in 2019-20, while he scored a career-high 39 points against the Los Angeles Clippers prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

"He's been amazing," All-Star Joel Embiid said of Milton. "He's been the starting point guard, and I think he has a huge opportunity to help us accomplish what we believe we can.

"He's been doing an amazing job and he's running the team and we're going to need him to knock down shots, which he did, before the league got shut down. He was on a roll so we're going to need him to keep it going. But it's great."

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid said he can carry the championship hopefuls as the league prepares to return following the coronavirus-enforced break.

The 2019-20 NBA season is set to restart via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30 after the campaign was halted due to COVID-19 in March.

All eyes will be on three-time All-Star center Embiid when the NBA returns following the coronavirus pandemic.

Philadelphia will recommence against Eastern Conference rivals the Indiana Pacers, who share identical 39-26 records to be fifth and sixth respectively, on August 1.

Embiid, who had been averaging 23.4 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game this season, insisted the 76ers' offense should go through him.

"I know what I'm capable of, and I know what my team-mates think of me," Embiid said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.

"I know I'm capable of carrying the team, so it's all about me being assertive. If I feel like I'm not getting the ball, I just got to talk to them and do what I have to do.

"But at the end of the day, I should never be in a position to complain about getting the ball, just because of who I am.

"I believe I can carry the team, and I believe being able to do that, I just got to take matters into my own hands. And obviously, I need to be in positions where I feel comfortable, and I believe my team-mates are going to help."

The 76ers – 14 games behind the Eastern Conference and NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) – are also set to be boosted by the return of fellow All-Star Ben Simmons.

Simmons has been sidelined since February due to a back injury, while there continues to be doubts over whether the Australian and Embiid can coexist in Philadelphia due to their contrasting styles.

"We're going to need him," Embiid said. "It's a team game. I'm going to do my best to keep helping him and create some space for him, and we all got to do the same thing just to help each other.

"At the end of the day, it's all about winning a championship, and I feel like he has the right mindset, that's what he wants to do. I know one thing about him, he wants to win, and he's going to do what it takes to win. So whatever we're going to need him to do, that's what he has to do."

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown said no one has worked harder than Joel Embiid as he hailed the All-Star ahead of the NBA's return.

The 2019-20 NBA season is set to restart via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30 after the campaign was halted due to COVID-19 in March.

Embiid's fitness has always been a topic of discussion and all eyes will be on the three-time All-Star center when the NBA returns following the coronavirus pandemic.

Philadelphia will recommence against Eastern Conference rivals the Indiana Pacers, who share identical 39-26 records to be fifth and sixth respectively, on August 1.

And Brown had high praise for Embiid's training and conditioning midweek.

"Let's start with the respect and applause I give him for putting in time. There is nobody on our team that has put in more time than Joel Embiid," Brown told reporters on Wednesday.

"Forget what he has actually done in the gym for a minute, just go to the man hours and consecutive days and the amount of days he has put in over the past few months. I'm proud of him, I respect him. He needed to do it. We understand the impact he can have on our team."

Embiid had been averaging 23.4 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game this season.

"We've got a three-week runway to deliver him to the regular season," Brown said. "I'm looking for Joel to come in in as good of shape as he's been in since I have coached him.

"I think the three weeks we have together is an inverted sort of luxury we haven't had. I'm excited for Jo to get back into this and show what he has been doing the last few months."

The 76ers – 14 games behind the Eastern Conference and NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) – are also set to be boosted by the return of fellow All-Star Ben Simmons.

Simmons has been sidelined since February due to a back injury, but Brown added: "He's good to go. He's put in a tremendous amount of work for me to be able to confidently say that.

"As you search for silver linings with this pandemic and the way things have shaped up, it would be hard-pressed for me to find something more obvious than this: It's enabled Ben to reclaim his health. He's good to go, and we look forward to watching him with what I'm told is effectively 100 per cent health."

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons should be ready to play when the NBA season resumes.

Simmons missed eight games due to a nerve impingement in his lower back before the 2019-20 campaign was paused amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The point guard was at that time set to be re-evaluated in three weeks, putting his availability for a late-season playoff push into question.

Sixers general manager Elton Brand now believes he will be able to suit up. 

"I'm very optimistic he'll be able to play, if and when, we're given that green light to resume," Brand said on a conference call on Tuesday.

The NBA leader in steals with 115, Simmons has been allowed to rehab at the 76ers' practice facility and Brand has been encouraged by his progress.

The next step is for Simmons to move on to three-on-three and five-on-five work, but those scrimmages will not be permitted until social distancing restrictions are lifted. 

"I give Ben and our medical staff a ton of credit for their hard work throughout his recovery," Brand said.

"I give Ben so much credit for him working so hard throughout this unknown time. Fortunately, we've able to arrange for him to continue to get the treatment and rehab he needs during this hiatus. 

''When I FaceTime him during his workouts and his treatments and I see him, I'd be highly encouraged." 

A two-time All-Star, the 23-year-old Simmons was in the midst of another excellent season before being sidelined, averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 assists, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 steals.

He has been instrumental to Philadelphia's success, as the 76ers are 33-21 when Simmons plays and 6-5 when he does not.

The Sixers were tied with the Indiana Pacers for fifth place in the Eastern Conference when the season was shut down, and Simmons' return would be key to a playoff run. 

''We've taken our time, we've been methodical and thoughtful about his recovery and rehab, just to make sure, because we weren't in a rush,'' Brand said.

''It's hard to speculate. He's been working hard and I know he'd be close or ready.'' 

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star duo Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons "can fit together", according to former team-mate JJ Redick.

76ers center Embiid and guard Simmons have been the subjects of endless questions about their chemistry, with repeated claims that the pair cannot play together for Philadelphia due to contrasting styles.

Reports have also claimed the 76ers could deal one of the players in pursuit of a title, with big man Embiid apparently seen as the most likely to be moved on should Philadelphia explore a trade.

Redick knows Embiid and Simmons better than most, having spent two seasons playing alongside the pair before joining the New Orleans Pelicans in 2019.

"They are both incredibly intelligent, and I'm always betting on guys that are smart enough to figure things out. And they will," Redick told The Athletic.

"The numbers kinda say that, when they're on the court together, they do pretty good: 2018, pretty good; 2019, pretty good; 2020, still pretty good, but not as good right?

"I don't think they're changing, so maybe the people around them are changing. That, to me, just goes back to the right fit and the right pieces.

"I think that they [Embiid and Simmons] can fit together, for sure."

Redick's time in Philadelphia was successful, his shooting – especially from three-point range – helping the 76ers reach the Eastern Conference semi-finals last season.

Since leaving Wells Fargo Center, Redick has seen 76ers head coach Brett Brown heavily criticised amid doubts over his future after Philadelphia struggled for consistency, particularly on the road, prior to the postponement of the NBA due to coronavirus.

While boasting an NBA-best 29-2 home record, the 76ers were 10-24 away from home to be sixth in the Eastern Conference.

The 35-year-old guard said: "I would love to play for Brett again. It's always easy to blame certain people. I don't think Brett is the problem, if there [even] is a problem.

"He is incredibly thorough, incredibly detailed. The thing that I always appreciated, maybe the most, about Brett is how thoughtful he is. There is a purpose to team meetings. There is a purpose to film sessions. There's a purpose to practice. There's a purpose to walk-through. There's a purpose to your daily schedule.

"Everything is so thought-out and meticulous. It's, I think, one of the main reasons that he's who he is as a coach and has gotten to this level."

Ben Simmons will spend at least another three weeks on the sidelines with a back injury.

All-Star point guard Simmons was forced off in the first quarter of the Philadelphia 76ers' defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks on February 22.

He has missed Philadelphia's past seven games and is set to sit out the next 11, with his next assessment to take place two weeks before the end of the regular season, the team have confirmed.

A 76ers statement read: "Ben Simmons (nerve impingement, lower back) continues to progress in his rehabilitation.

"He is receiving daily treatment and is gradually increasing the activities in his strength and conditioning programme. He will be re-evaluated in three weeks."

Simmons' injury has combined with a shoulder problem for Joel Embiid, leaving Philadelphia without their two leading players for their past five games. The Sixers went 2-3 in that stretch.

Starting shooting guard Josh Richardson also missed their past three outings while he progressed through the NBA's concussion protocols.

However, Embiid was questionable to return against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, while Richardson was cleared to play.

Brett Brown's team went into the game with the Pistons sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 38-26 record.

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