JJ Redick Says 76ers' Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons 'Can Fit Together, for Sure'

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIApril 20, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 09: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers talks to Joel Embiid #21 against the Chicago Bulls at the Wells Fargo Center on February 9, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Bulls 118-111. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

JJ Redick departed the Philadelphia 76ers for the New Orleans Pelicans last summer, but the 35-year-old guard believes that Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid can both stay in Philly.

"I think that they (Embiid and Simmons) can fit together, for sure," Redick told The Athletic's Derek Bodner and Rich Hofmann for a story published Sunday.

Redick added:

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

[...]

"The numbers kinda say that, when they're on the court together, they do pretty good: 2018, pretty good (for reference: +15.5 net rating); 2019, pretty good (+7.9 net rating); 2020, still pretty good, but not as good (+0.9 net rating), 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."

There has been speculation that the Sixers will want to split up Embiid and Simmons soon. Bleacher Report's Howard Beck told ESPN's Zach Lowe on his The Full 48 podcast that "plenty of people" leaguewide believe "these are the final days of Embiid and Simmons together" in February (h/t NBC Sports' Kurt Helin).

Helin added his own report: "The more likely pattern is Brett Brown gets fired after the season and another coach is brought in. However, if in a year or two that coach cannot get Embiid and Simmons to blend at a championship level, then the Sixers will start to explore trades."

Philadelphia took Embiid third overall in 2014 and then selected Simmons first overall in 2016.

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Embiid is under contract through 2023, while Simmons' contract won't expire until after the 2024-25 campaign.

The Sixers came up one game short of advancing to the NBA Finals last season, losing to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Philadelphia was ousted in the same round the previous year.

Before the NBA announced the suspension of this season on March 11, Embiid led the 76ers with 23.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Simmons was averaging 16.7 points, 8.2 assists, 7.8 rebounds and a league-leading 2.1 steals.

Philly is 39-26 and in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The team has been among the most difficult to gauge because of its 29-2 home record and 10-24 away record.