Report: Thybulle 'Close to Being Untouchable' in Simmons Trade Talks

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

There have been rumors for many months about the Philadelphia 76ers pulling the trigger on a deal to ship Ben Simmons to the Sacramento Kings. Things have heated up over the past couple weeks, and more came out today about those rumored discussions.

Keith Pompey, in his latest piece for The Inquirer, dumped a ton of major information about the talks between the Sixers and Kings.

"One source said Sacramento has considered packaging Buddy Hield, Tyrese Haliburton, Harrison Barnes and two first-round picks for Simmons, Harris and Matisse Thybulle. However, the source said the Sixers aren’t interested in that package.

Another source said the Sixers haven’t received a formal trade offer at this time. The source added that none of those talks have involved Thybulle or any of the Sixers’ other young players. Speaking of Thybulle specifically, the source added the second-team All-Defensive selection is close to being untouchable."

The Sixers' reported desire to package Simmons and Tobias Harris, who are owed a combined $68.9 million this season, is nothing new. Matisse Thybulle, the team's best perimeter defender, being "close to untouchable," on the other hand, is somewhat surprising.

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STP Staff Predictions: Eagles vs. Buccaneers

By STP Staff, Eagles Coverage on Sports Talk Philly

The Philadelphia Eagles (9-8) travel to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa to take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4) on Sunday at 1:00 PM.  The Eagles are an 8.5-point underdog on most betting sites and are a considerable underdog among media members. Find out if our contributors think the Eagles can pull off the upset and move on the NFC Divisional round. 

 

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Tyrese Maxey's Progression Should Result in Most Improved Player Award

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

Joel Embiid has not been the only bright spot for the Philadelphia 76ers this season. The play of Tyrese Maxey continues to shine bright for the Sixers this season. He has made a ton of improvements to his game and should be a candidate for the Most Improved Player award.

Maxey is taking on a much bigger role this season, playing 34.8 minutes per game and stepping into the full-time starting point guard position. He is flourishing, averaging 16.8 points and 4.4 assists while turning the ball over only 1.2 times per game. His passing numbers are impressive considering he is more naturally an off-ball guard, but the Sixers have been forced to rely on him to learn the point guard position due to Ben Simmons refusing to play this season.

He showcased much of his improved abilities in the win over the Boston Celtics on Friday, finishing with 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He also nailed five of his seven attempts from beyond the arc, tying his career-high in made threes. It was one of his best games from 3-point range this season.

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Should the Sixers Have Interest in a Simmons Deal With the Kings?

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

The Philadelphia 76ers and the Sacramento Kings have been attached at the hip over the past few months in regards to trade rumors surrounding Ben Simmons.

Today the rumors centered around a familiar name, De'Aaron Fox. According to a report by Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, the Sixers "canvassed the prospect" of a Simmons-Fox deal, but "dialogue remains exploratory due diligence." 

Fox is a good player, but not a good fit with the rest of the Sixers' roster. He is averaging 20.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game for the Kings this season. However, he is a poor outside shooter as evidenced by his 3-point percentage this season (24.3). The Sixers are likely looking for someone who can space the floor better than Fox.

There is also a lot of overlap between what Fox and Tyrese Maxey excel at. The second-year guard has been arguably the Sixers' second best player this season behind Joel Embiid. He is good at driving to the basket and is already a better outside shooter than Fox.

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Sixers' Sloppiness, Struggles Against Zone Defense Cost Them in Loss to Hornets

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By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

The Philadelphia 76ers' seven-game winning streak was snapped on Wednesday night at the hands of the Charlotte Hornets, 109-98. The Sixers' problems against zone defense continued and uncharacteristic sloppiness doomed them against a Hornets team that loves running in transition.

The first quarter swung back and forth, with Tyrese Maxey knocking down two triples to give the Sixers a slim 35-34 lead. The offense was clicking behind another strong start from Joel Embiid, who finished the game with 31 points to extend his streak of 30-plus point games to eight. However, the team committed four turnovers in the first quarter, something which would plague them throughout the game.

Charlotte flipped to a zone defense in the second quarter and the Sixers had no answers for it. They were held to just 15 points on 7-for-21 shooting in the quarter while also turning the ball over four more times.

The turnovers and sloppy play hampered the Sixers' offense all game long. They committed 17 turnovers on the night, leading to 23 Charlotte points. As head coach Doc Rivers said after the game, "I thought the ball stuck. We’ve been so good overall moving the ball and I just thought tonight, we didn’t do that. The ball stuck on every possession. We rarely got it from side to side."

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Andre Drummond Flourishing, Enjoying Smaller Role on Sixers

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

Andre Drummond talked some trash and started laughing on his way back down the court. He had just bullied his way to the rim past Christian Wood to dunk the ball late in the first quarter of the Philadelphia 76ers' win over the Houston Rockets.

It is clear Drummond is enjoying himself this season, his first with the Sixers. When he signed a contract for the veteran minimum, he mentioned how his familiarity with both head coach Doc Rivers as well as multiple players on the roster helped him make his decision to sign in Philadelphia.

When he was a member of the Detroit Pistons, Drummond had a beef with All-Star Joel Embiid. The two went back and forth on social media and things were ratcheted up whenever the two teams played each other. However, that is a thing of the past.

Drummond knew he was walking into a smaller role when he put his name on the dotted line to sign in Philadelphia. He was going to play behind Embiid, one of the best centers in the NBA. His role would be to come on the floor for anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes per game, play good defense and rebound the ball.

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Is John Collins a Good Fit on the Sixers? Hawks Become Latest Suitor for Ben Simmons

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

With exactly one month to go until the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline, things are really beginning to heat up in the Ben Simmons trade market.

Late last week, Marc Stein reported the Atlanta Hawks had become the latest suitor for Simmons. The Athletic's Shams Charania speculated in Monday's "Inside Pass" the Hawks could potentially offer John Collins as the centerpiece in a package to the Philadelphia 76ers for Simmons.

"The Hawks are an emerging potential landing spot for Simmons, whose Defensive Player of the Year-caliber play would surely elevate one of the league’s bottom five defenses. In scanning the Hawks’ roster, it’s obvious John Collins — who signed a five-year, $125 million deal in restricted free agency last offseason — and Cam Reddish are among the players who could acquiesce a package for Simmons. It’s unclear whether the Hawks are ready to put such a proposal on the table after making a run to the Eastern Conference finals a season ago.

Collins, however, has grown increasingly frustrated over his role in Atlanta, multiple sources have told The Athletic. His shot attempts per game and usage rate have decreased in each of the past three seasons — even as the athletic, energetic Collins has improved his offensive repertoire. The 6-foot-9 big man has challenged the Hawks locker room on multiple occasions to play team basketball and commit to one another this season. Oftentimes, Collins has felt his voice go unheard."

Collins, at 24 years old, is just entering his prime and could be an enticing player for the 76ers. He plays with a ton of energy, has insane athleticism and is a good scorer. He is averaging 17.5 points per game this season, and has proven over the past few years to be a solid outside shooter. Over the last three seasons, he is shooting 40.6 percent from beyond the arc, albeit on only 3.3 attempts per game.

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Harris Finding His Rhythm, the Embiid-Drummond Lineup and More 76ers Observations

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

The Philadelphia 76ers are in the midst of their best stretch of basketball of the season. They are on a six-game winning streak, with Joel Embiid leading the way and putting himself in the middle of the MVP conversation. Embiid, during the winning streak, has averaged 33.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. The 76ers currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference at 22-16. One of the more promising things to take away from the team's winning streak is their ability to handle the lesser competition (Rockets, Magic and Spurs over the last three games), something they struggled with earlier in the season.

In this edition of 76ers observations, I dive into Tobias Harris getting into a groove, the viability of the Embiid-Drummond lineup and much more.

Tobias Harris finding his rhythm

What a whirlwind week it has been for Tobias Harris. The week began with him struggling against the Houston Rockets on Monday and getting booed by the Philadelphia faithful. By the end of the week, all was good between Harris and the fans, and Harris put together two of the best games of his season.

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Coming Off Near MVP Season, Joel Embiid Still Making Improvements To His Game

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

When Joel Embiid finished second in MVP voting last season, averaging 28.5 points and 10.6 rebounds, many thought they were receiving the best performance of his career. Up to that point, it was the best season of his career. The only thing holding him back was staying healthy as he missed 31 games last season.

However, Embiid has taken more strides and improved in many different aspects of his game on the court thus far in the 2021-22 season. While his scoring numbers on the surface are lower than they were last season - brought about by a slow start (for Embiid's standards) and a lengthy stint in the NBA's health and safety protocols - he has heated up and is once again putting up MVP numbers. He won the Eastern Conference Player of the Month award in December, averaging 29.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.

The 2021-22 season has at times been rough for the Philadelphia 76ers. Ben Simmons is holding out and demanding a trade. COVID-19 has run through the locker room, causing nearly everyone on the roster to miss some amount of time. The team has needed every ounce of production they received from Embiid to be where they are at, fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 21-16.

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With Maxey Out, 76ers Dig Deeper Into Point Guard by Committee Approach

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

The Philadelphia 76ers have many times gone to the point guard by committee approach this season. With Ben Simmons holding out and demanding a trade, the team's roster lacks a true point guard. The results of the committee approach have been mixed through the first 36 games of the season.

Tyrese Maxey stepped into the point guard role for the 76ers to begin the season. He, for a second-year player who never played point guard before, produced well in his new role. He is averaging 4.5 assists per game while also doing a good job of controlling the basketball, committing only 1.3 turnovers per game. The offense is clunky at times, but Maxey has shown a ton of potential in his new role running the offense.

However, the 76ers have multiple other options who can step up and run the offense in spurts. With Maxey being put in the NBA's health and safety protocols before Monday's game against the Houston Rockets, the team will have to find ways to manage and tap into their other options at point guard over the next couple games.

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