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Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons reacts after dunking during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons reacts after dunking during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)|Associated Press
NBA

NBA Preview: What does Mims expect from Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and the 76ers this season?

Robert Mims

Robert Mims

The Sixers have signed Ben Simmons to a 5-year deal worth $170 million. Joel Embiid is also under contract for 5 year at $146 million. So, two of the top players in their positions are here and under 25 years old. The "Process" worked! But, would you be happy with the same level of productivity from either of them? Both made the All-Star team and Embiid was 2nd team all-NBA. So, get excited Sixers fans! There is room for improvement with both players.

Simmons would be well served to hire a shooting coach and find a pull up mid-range shot. I would like to see a 3-point range touch but that may be asking too much too soon. The mid-range shot would force teams to respect his half-court game and not sag off. Magic Johnson did not become a good shooter from deep until the latter stages of his career.

Simmons must improve his foul shooting and average no less than 70% from the line. He handles the ball too much to be in the 60 percentiles. This makes him a candidate for the 'hack a Ben' strategy late in games.

Ben should be stronger with the ball in clutch situations. I still see Kyle Lowry snatching that ball after he grab the rebound in Game 7 against Toronto. I see a sliver of truth to Jared Dudley that he is excellent in the fast break but not as dominant in running sets. This can be improved with more work with the Sixers coaching staff.

Embiid expectations will improve with conditioning. He was not able to perform at his optimum during the guts of the game. The last 5 minutes you must be able to wear down your opponent. Embiid appears to be tired and show signs of fatigue. He would cite knee soreness and back issues that resulted in load management. His minutes should be reduced, and he should come to camp in better shape.

Embiid should not be above the foul line in a half court set. He is too powerful to be setting screen at the top of the circle and taking a 3 if the opponent drops off him. This is what they want. The 3-point shot for him should come as a trailer if a fast-break does not produce a goal.

If Embiid and Simmons can hit 3 of the 5 areas of improvement they will play in the Eastern Conference Finals. If they connect on all 5 the Sixers will face the Western Conference winner for the NBA Championship. Follow me on Twitter. My next post on Thursday is on MLB.