Joel Embiid is stuck between a rock and a hard place.
This comes after Simmons’ name has been in trade discussions since the James Harden drama early last season.
It was no secret Daryl Morey and the 76ers were fielding offers for the star 6-foot-10 point guard.
But the official request from Simmons ramps up the pressure considerably.
Especially with reports he will not report for training camp if he is not dealt before camp starts.
Now it seems like it is only a matter of time until the Australian is traded.
With the trade request coming from Simmons’ camp, it garnered some critical comments from Philadelphia reporters and fans alike.
Many bashed the three-time All-Star for requesting a trade after his disappearing act against the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the playoffs.
Not everybody attacked him, however.
Simmons’ All-Star teammate Embiid came to his defense.
Embiid not only supported his teammate, but he also sent a shot back at the fans and media criticizing Ben.
I haven’t forgotten but 2 years ago, I got booed, people in Philly wanted me to be traded. I even shushed them. Only the real ones didn’t but I just put the work in that offseason to be better cuz I knew I wasn’t playing up to my potential. Philly fans, y’all also gotta be better
— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) September 1, 2021
All this noise around Ben leaves Embiid in a tricky situation.
Embiid and Simmons Are Awkward Fit On-Court
The on-court fit between Embiid and Simmons has been discussed since the latter was drafted in 2016.
While Embiid has the ability to shoot the three, he is not really a floor-spacing big.
Not to mention he is exponentially more dominant when in the paint.
Which is an issue considering Simmons seemingly refuses to shoot from outside the paint.
With shooting being a premium skill in the NBA today, having two below-average shooters on the court at once can really stagnate an offense.
And for Embiid and Simmons, their individual play styles contradict each other.
Embiid is a dominant, back-to-the-basket, low-post scorer.
To maximize his ability, he needs four shooters spacing the floor and giving him plenty of room to operate.
Shooters ensure he cannot be constantly doubled in the post and has targets to kick out to.
Simmons, on the other hand, is a downhill force.
His incredible frame and athleticism make him nearly impossible to defend on drives where he likes to finish at the rim or kick out to shooters.
Both players being on the court interferes with the other’s preferred play style.
To date, that has not been a problem in the regular season.
The Sixers with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on the floor this season (715 mins):
121.1 offensive rating
106.3 defensive rating
+14.8 net rating
— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) March 2, 2021
Lineups featuring Embiid and Simmons have been a net-positive every year they’ve played together.
Including a plus-15.5 net rating in 1,164 minutes together last season.
In fact, that number ballooned to plus-18.8 in 315 postseason minutes.
However, Simmons’ flaws cause him to be unplayable at the end of playoff games.
Teams foul him to put him at the line where he is a career 52 percent shooter in the playoffs.
And his inability to create his own offense puts most of the scoring burden on Embiid.
Net ratings are great but mean nothing when one player cannot be on the court.
Can’t Alienate The Fans
Embiid and Simmons have been teammates for five years now.
They seem to have a good relationship on and off the court.
While they may not be best friends, it is clear they have some sort of friendship.
It was good to see Embiid defend Simmons from the attacks on Twitter.
And the fans deserved the shot because they are not blameless in the Simmons ordeal.
But Embiid needs to be sure not to make it seem like he is against the fans in this situation.
Philly loves him and any athlete that embraces the city.
"I think what annoys Philadelphia fans the most … I think they're mad because [Ben Simmons] is afraid." 😳😳😳
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) September 2, 2021
That can change if Embiid draws a line in the sand.
The fans could have been more supportive, but Simmons has also made his bed to a certain extent.
Since his rookie year, everybody has known Simmons needs to improve as a shooter.
And year after year, that is the one skill he never seems to work on.
Simmons is a generational talent and sensational basketball player.
But not being able to better that one aspect of his game as a professional opens him up for criticism.
Embiid should know that and make sure to not be overly supportive of his flawed teammate.
Because the fans can turn quickly – just ask Carson Wentz.NEXT: 3 Notable Problems Already In Place For The 76ers