NBA's 76ers build around Simmons, Embiid

Dan Gelston
·2-min read

Philadelphia have taken the first steps under new president Daryl Morey to build the franchise around All-Stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, as the 76ers hunt their first NBA title since 1983.

Morey undid last summer's major moves when he traded Al Horford to Oklahoma City and Josh Richardson to the Dallas Mavericks, shedding salary and beefing up the Sixers' shooting.

Philadelphia also selected Kentucky guard Tyrese Maxey with the 21st pick Wednesday, its first draft choice under the new regime of Morey and coach Doc Rivers.

Rivers had quite the scouting report on the Dallas trade. The Sixers, who also sent the 36th pick of the draft to the Mavericks, acquired guard Seth Curry - Rivers' son-in-law.

Family counts for something, yes. But no doubt the Sixers were as intrigued by Curry's 44 per cent career three-point-shooting, a necessity for a team that struggled all season from long range.

The Sixers also sent Horford and a protected future first-round pick to Oklahoma City in the trade with the Thunder.

The 76ers hope to build around All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and took a big step on Wednesday by surrounding them with shooters and increasing their cap flexibility to perhaps set the stage for another deal in a shortened offseason.

"When Joel and Ben have had that, it's actually insane how good those lineups and how good those teams played," Morey said. "That was the theme for tonight. Getting Seth, you can argue he's the best shooter in the NBA."

Morey said Simmons and Embiid "are going to be here for a long time."

The draft almost became an afterthought for a franchise expected to contend in the Eastern Conference this year only to get swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics.

That led to coach Brett Brown's exit and a restructuring of the front office that ushered in Morey after a successful stint building the Houston Rockets into one of the top teams in the West.

Maxey, who burst into tears when he was selected, averaged 19 points for Kentucky last season and shot 43 per cent from the field.

Maxey shot 29 per cent from three-point range.

He got an instant stamp of approval from Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

"CONGRATS Lil bro!! Proud of you kid. The work continues! Philly got a good one for sure!" James tweeted.

The 76ers also took Arkansas guard Isaiah Joe and DePaul forward Paul Reed in the second round.

Philadelphia will receive Danny Green and Terrance Ferguson from the Thunder.

"I listened a lot when I got here," Morey said. "But it was pretty universal we needed to add these elements to the team."