Keith Pompey has lined the Philadelphia 76ers for the Philadephia Inquirer for nearly ten years.
He’s the preeminent journalism voice for the at present embattled crew. His matter-of-fact method to reporting offers followers a real insider view to the each day happenings of the Philadelphia 76ers.
The ten-9 shorthanded 76ers fell to the the NBA main 16-2 Golden State Warriors in San Francisco of their final recreation. In that backdrop, Pompey stopped by Throneofgadget to debate in regards to the Ben Simmons state of affairs, and the way that would impression their 2021-22 NBA season.
Keith, what’s your impression of the Philadelphia 76ers, and the way they transfer ahead within the absence of Ben Simmons and now Joel Embiid (Covid)?
Keith Pompey: It’s bizarre as a result of once you take a look at the Philadelphia 76ers, they beat the Denver Nuggets, and so they additionally beat the Sacramento Kings with out Joel whereas they had been undermanned.
It was a superb win for the crew, however on the similar time, I really feel like transferring ahead, the 76ers are going to battle with out Joel. While you ask how good are they or what’s occurring with them, it’s a kind of issues the place it’s onerous to say. They’ve solely performed six video games out of 19 with their beginning 5. We actually don’t understand how good this crew actually is.
How would you consider Doc Rivers and his administration of the crew on this present flux?
Keith Pompey: I believe Doc is doing what he has to do. I do know lots of people are like I didn’t like that substitution, or why did he stick Shake (Milton) in so lengthy? Aww man Furkan (Korkmaz) is lacking all these pictures. For me, it’s like who else would you like them to place in? Proper now, who else are they going to place in there with all these different guys damage? So, you simply gotta experience with these guys.
There was at some point the place they performed at OKC, and I do know that’s OKC, however Doc was teaching his tail off. After they went to Chicago, he was teaching his tail off. Joel was taking part in, however they had been lacking numerous different gamers.
There will likely be individuals crucial of Doc Rivers for not calling timeouts or not difficult a name. However on the similar time, he’s doing a superb job of teaching these younger dudes who actually don’t get numerous taking part in time, or woudn’t be within the rotation in any respect if not for the accidents.
How do you see a participant like Paul Reed? Clearly, the Philadelphia 76ers fanbase loves him. He’s a cult determine right here. Bball Paul as they name him. Does he have a shot to actually make an impression on this crew?
Keith Pompey: I believe he does, however I additionally suppose he’s realistically a few years away. Paul Reed has all of the instruments. He’s extraordinarily athletic. He has the size. The attain. All that. I believe that generally Paul Reed is his worst factor. What I imply by that’s, Paul Reed generally thinks an excessive amount of as a substitute of simply going on the market, reacting and play.
So when individuals ask why he isn’t within the recreation, numerous it has to do with him ensuring he’s at all times in the best place. When he doesn’t suppose, that’s when it occurs. He’s a greater reactor. I believe he messes himself up pondering an excessive amount of.
One other younger participant who’s making a huge effect is Tyrese Maxey. Popping out of Kentucky, he was a shock in how Doc was placing him in playoff conditions to attain at will. He was streaky good with the 3-point shot, and gave the 76ers a jolt once they wanted it within the playoffs. How do you see him coming off a playoff excessive and settling into the season but with added accountability now?
Keith Pompey: He’s doing effectively. You gotta notice, he’s been Mr. Dependable; Mr. Reliable; Mr. Constant; Mr. Taking Huge Pictures; Mr. 4th Quarter. He’s a man you mentioned early on ‘okay, they’re going to lose any individual’.
They’ll attempt to get a scoring two-guard and attempt to convert him into a degree guard. He had 14 consecutive video games scoring in double figures. He has scored in double figures in 17 of 18 video games.
During the last 6 or 7 video games he had one recreation the place he had 31 factors, one other the place he had 33, after which 28. The query I’ve about him is: is he going to have the ability to maintain that up? How are they going to have the ability to incorporate his strengths when Tobias Harris is again; Danny Inexperienced is again; Seth Curry is again and Joel?
Will they be capable to give him some alternatives to do what he does finest? Proper now, and I do know that Embiid is unhealthy dude, and I do know the 76ers play higher with him, however proper now? Based mostly off what Tyrese has executed in these 18 video games and taking part in in all 18, you would need to say that he’s the MVP for the 76ers.
Born right here, so I believe again to 1983 with the Boston Strangler, Andrew Toney and what he did from a scoring standpoint. I’m hesitant to say his title and affiliate it with Tyrese Maxey, is it attainable that his ceiling is that top that he can turn into a participant like Andrew Toney? Not evaluating him to Toney, however extra his effectiveness.
Keith Pompey: He can, however it’s nonetheless early. That is his first yr as a starter. I bear in mind one in all my boys hit me up and mentioned: ‘I haven’t seen anybody this dominant since AI!” I used to be like ‘who??’ (we chuckle). He was like, ‘Allen Iverson’. I mentioned AI ‘who??’ (we crack up). I simply mentioned: ‘Don’t. Nah’.
So, he’s good, and he’s all that and this and that, and he might be that dude for any individual, however I believe proper now, we’re 18 video games into an 82-game season. We gotta see what kinda tweaks they make. After which, if he can do it now, and maintain doing it, then yeah, you give him some respect. Proper now, I hate to place that stress on him.
Andrew Toney was a baaaaaad man. Sure, he was!
Joel Embiid – I bear in mind speaking to Derrick Rose by the scorer’s desk at a day shoot round, and out of the nook of my eye I noticed a feathery jumper fall. I regarded over, and it was Joel.
That is early on when he was on two crutches, then one crutch to prepare and get on the market. He sat round and watched again then and soaked all of it up. He is aware of the town now, and understands how passionate the town is in regards to the crew. He appears to take that accountability very critically. You see that in his response to issues. How he addresses followers. He’s going to be a legendary participant right here. How do you see Joel Embiid as a Philadelphia 76ers legend?
Keith Pompey: He’s gonna go down as one of many best. It’s unlucky that Joel Embiid has handled accidents. Pretty much as good as Joel Embiid is anxious, we’ve by no means seen him play to his full potential, in my view.
He’s at all times damage. There’s at all times one thing. I’m not criticizing him. I’m simply saying and conserving it 100%. We’ve got but to see this man at 100%. On the finish of the day, you take a look at Joel, and I’ll provide you with a primary instance of how he’ll be remembered: Joel’s actual rookie yr.
I’m speaking in regards to the first time he performed in an NBA recreation. It was a preseason recreation. Joel was on the courtroom warming up. Patrick Ewing was on the market. He stopped what he was doing, and simply paid consideration to Joel Embiid. On the time, the top coach on the press convention mentioned: ‘Man, Pat’s amazed by this child. He mentioned: ‘Man, Pat is saying he’s going to be one of many all-time greats!’
So, I walked as much as Pat and mentioned: ‘I’m Keith Pompey a reporter for the Inquirer. I’m listening to you suppose that this man goes to be one of many all-time greats. Among the best gamers. He mentioned: ‘yeeeah. Take a look at his footwork’.
Thoughts you, I didn’t know what I used to be . I’m simply seeing this tall dude scoring and making pictures, however Patrick Ewing mentioned this earlier than he even performed in an actual recreation was raving over Embiid.
“So that ought to let you know how nice he’s once you’ve bought a Corridor of Famer raving over you throughout a exercise.”
Pat’s title comes up. Joel Embiid is known as a Patrick Ewing/ Hakeem Olajuwon hybrid. He’s stepping up and changing into what everybody has anticipated of him, however such as you mentioned, he simply can’t keep on the ground.
In a way of simply how fragile this all is, what would occur to the followers of this metropolis if one thing occurred to Joel? It looks as if all of it is held collectively by a frayed string between this crew ascending and likewise falling straight off a cliff. Town appears to be hinging numerous hope on Joel Embiid, and so they love this dude. He’s doing every thing accordingly. Like I mentioned earlier, he has a severe accountability to the followers. It could be very unlucky for one thing to occur to him relating to basketball from a fanbase-morale standpoint.
Keith Pompey: I don’t need to communicate something into existence, but when one thing had been to occur to Joel, after which the followers would exit and see how the 76ers play. A number of the individuals who don’t recognize Joel as a lot as others will perceive why, as a result of for those who take Joel Embiid off the 76ers, and you understand Ben Simmons was good when Joel wasn’t taking part in, you understand, getting up and down the ground.
With out Joel Embiid, this crew is struggling. He erases numerous issues. Take into consideration this, and individuals are going to be damage. Seth Curry was on hearth when Joel Embiid was taking part in. Furkan Korkmaz was telling all his haters – all his haters had been like I apologize.
As quickly as Joel went down, each of these dudes struggled. They couldn’t make pictures. The second recreation again from COVID-19, Tobias Harris dropped 32 factors, and so they nonetheless misplaced. That goes to indicate you ways dominant a participant Joel is. He cleans up numerous issues. He’ll flip the ball over. He’ll do another issues.
Generally individuals get upset as a result of he must be down within the paint dunking as a substitute of settling for fadeaway threes. I get all that. Take a look at who they’re with out him, after which it’s one thing else. They beat Denver, however Denver had been simply as decimated as they had been.
They beat the Sacramento Kings with out him, and I’m right here to let you know that, that Sacramento crew is the by far worst they’ve performed. They’ll’t beat a high quality opponent at full employees with out Joel Embiid. If one thing had been to occur to Joel, lots of people would notice and perceive that he was the method.
Do you see him successful MVP or Defensive Participant of the Yr?
Keith Pompey: I don’t know simply because once you do issues like that you simply gotta keep wholesome, and also you gotta play. I don’t suppose he can win a Defensive Participant of the Yr award. The rationale why I don’t see him successful is due to the issues that he does…
Now he could block pictures, however he’s extra of an eraser. The eraser kinda sorta will get missed once in a while. The man who will get all of it, he’s wholesome. He is locking ‘em down. He’ll get to pictures, and has a formidable presence within the lane, and folks received’t crash the lane due to him. That’s extra the coaches being attentive to it as a substitute of the gamers. With reference to the media? They’re stats.
MVP? If the 76ers have an awesome run, yeah he may probably get it, however I additionally suppose he’ll want extra assist for him to place the 76ers in place for him to garner that.
Talking of assist, he doesn’t have Ben Simmons – I’ve written so many items on him because the summer time, and I am certain you will have (too). Clearly he’s a hot-button subject. He’s enigmatic at 6′ 10″ with a 7′ wingspan, DPOY candidate, triple-double man doing every thing we thought would make him a famous person early on when he was taking part in for the 76ers.
Below Brett Brown the crew was rising. We had been optimistic that we had been seeing one thing particular right here within the metropolis with two potential megastars. This drama has transpired everywhere in the summer time. The place do you see this going? I do know on IG dwell you mentioned you don’t ever see Ben Simmons taking part in right here once more. The place do you see this all falling aside or coming collectively?
Keith Pompey: I believe they gotta commerce him, man. A variety of it will likely be predicated on how profitable the 76ers are. I really feel like if the 76ers are profitable, and so they have an opportunity of going deep within the playoffs, I can see them making a transfer and bringing any individual in. If the 76ers are struggling, and so they resolve to close it down, then I can see them holding off till they’ll get any individual, perhaps in free company, in an indication and commerce sort of factor.
I can’t see Ben Simmons being right here and being part of the crew long run. Who is aware of? By no means say by no means, however I don’t actually see this marriage the place you fantastic this dude, and also you’re doing all this different stuff ,and he decides to hastily come out and play. I can’t see that taking place.
I don’t see it both. What do you suppose is happening with Ben Simmons?
Keith Pompey: I believe Ben Simmons needed to be traded. I really feel like, he felt like the way it was; individuals weren’t loyal to him. I do really feel like he’s coping with some stuff. I do. There have been instances final yr that the 76ers had been like making it appear to be he was bothered by one factor, however they knew it was one thing else.
I simply really feel like he feels betrayed. He looks like no person actually has his again, and it’s time to maneuver on. Not solely that. He additionally is aware of that the common Philadelphian needs him outta right here. They don’t need him. There’s gonna be no extra hostile place for Ben Simmons to play than in Philadelphia.
That’s it in a nutshell proper there. He doesn’t need to face these followers, man.
Keith Pompey: Yeah that’s a few of it. That’s numerous it, however I additionally don’t suppose individuals had been loyal to him both.
Popping out of LSU, there have been rumors he didn’t need to play right here. That he needed to play in LA. I battle with Ben. I lined him in these early years right here. He appeared completely naïve at instances, but linkng up with Klutch Sports activities it’s evident he’s attempting to construct knowledgeable profession that may be revered, based mostly on his illustration.
I’m attempting to not do him a superficial disservice by simply saying he doesn’t’ need to play right here as a result of it’s simply in regards to the followers. There appears to be much more to it. I used to be one of many few to write in regards to the stuff along with his sister.
That was actually a measure of looking for out what was occurring with him. He’s so gifted. We all know from masking sports activities that generally adversity makes the pores and skin thick, and a participant begins to take off. It looks as if that’s what’s going to occur with Ben Simmons prefer it did with Andre Iguodala.
Keith Pompey: Yeah, it would. I’m not going to carry it towards him for not wanting to return right here. Let’s maintain it actual. If the 76ers had been so unhealthy that none of those dudes needed to return right here. When you ask them straight to their face off the document such as you, did you actually need to come to the 76ers or did you need to go to the Lakers, or did you need to go elsewhere? They might all need to go elsewhere.
All of them would.
Keith Pompey: That’s as a result of initially it’s LA! There’s palm timber; stunning climate; seashores. You recognize, it’s all that. And you then take a look at the 76ers, they received like what ten video games? 13 video games. Stuff like that.
So once you hear that, it’s a kind of issues the place I’m not gonna maintain that towards them. All they knew of the 76ers had been a crew that was tanking. Getting blown out; getting embarrassed. I’m not gonna maintain that towards them. Now I’ll say this about Ben: if Ben was taking part in proper now, and Joel was out, Ben would dominate.
They’d have him taking part in all forms of positions. He would get to the rim. He would do no matter he would. You take a look at him, and he says (hypothetically): ‘Properly dag, if I’m dominating now, after which I come again, and I’m not any extra like perhaps I need to go someplace the place it could be my crew’.
I do know some individuals will say that’s egocentric, and perhaps they started working on coexisting, however for those who actually need to be 100% actual, that has quite a bit to do with the tradition they got here from. Doc Rivers did it final yr the place he introduced them into the room, and mentioned ‘You guys work higher collectively’. Properly any individual ought to have executed that of their first yr, and we most likely wouldn’t have had this.
Yeah, Brett Brown. I attempted to get him to talk extra about basketball again then in pressers simply to see what he may do with these younger gifted males. With Matisse Thybulle, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the 76ers defensive potential was loopy. So, are they attempting to get with a selected commerce associate to make sure they get a plus defender again who can even rating?
Is that what primarily they’re searching for? Are they searching for items as a result of you may fill your roster with somebody like Ben for those who make the best sort of trades. Are they constructing this crew with ideas of competing with Brooklyn due to what they’ve offensively? Is that why they’ve a lot trepidation in buying and selling Simmons?
Keith Pompey: They’re attempting to construct this crew to have the ability to get any individual to assist them win a championship. That’s what it’s. They’re searching for a Damian Lillard sort; a James Harden sort; a Bradley Beal sort.
Somebody they’ll pair with Embiid, and so they can have an elite one-two punch, and you then incorporate Tobias Harris and Seth Curry, and you then’re like: ‘Whoa, Okay, I see you. I see what you’re doing. That’s what they’re searching for.’
If they’ll additionally get a few different guys who can assist out, with their depth and all, yeah they’ll do it. We’re speaking about what’s on the highest of their want checklist of issues, however I believe it’s to a degree the place it might come right down to the perfect deal. They’re nonetheless going to carry out. They’re holding out, if the 76ers battle, then it’s simpler to carry out.
If they’re in competition, then it’s like we’re going to should hurry up and make a transfer as a result of Joel’s clock is ticking. In the event that they’re struggling, they’ll say: ‘Alright Jo, this can be a misplaced yr, and we’re going to attempt to go all in subsequent yr’.
In the event that they’re not struggling, and so they can’t get that A-list sort of man, then I can see them getting a bunch of B-list dudes.
To complete up Keith, the place do you see this factor going this yr. Do you suppose the 76ers can have a constructive season regardless of all of the turmoil?
Keith Pompey: It’s onerous to say as a result of we don’t know what this crew goes to appear like come February (NBA commerce deadline). That’s the hardest half about this crew. We don’t know.
I’ll let you know this: the aptitude that they at present have within the locker room? These dudes love one another. It’s kinda like a highschool basketball crew with a bunch of dudes who simply wanna have enjoyable. They’re on the street. They’re having enjoyable. They’re laughing and joking. They don’t care who scores. Take a look at it. Joel Embiid was doing what? Distributing the rock. They had been doing no matter they needed. Then it’s like ‘yo Jo, we want you. Okay, I’ll take over’.
I might say from a chemistry standpoint? They good, however on the similar time, we don’t know who will likely be right here after the commerce deadline. One other factor, they’re 4-2 with their beginning 5. The six video games they’ve performed. So that they’re good with that, however on the similar time, we don’t know.
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We don’t know. We don’t understand how good they’re gonna be as a result of we haven’t seen sufficient video games, and we don’t know who will likely be on the 76ers’ roster.
Q. Will Ben Simmons ever play for the Philadelphia 76ers once more?
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