September 07, 2018
The Philadelphia 76ers' efforts to lure LeBron James into a lineup with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid weren't enough to keep the NBA's premiere superstar away from the bright lights of Los Angeles.
That was a sobering reality check for Philadelphia in an offseason full of them. Fans hoping to accelerate or complete The Process were reminded that the Sixers are just one of several rising teams whose horizon of talent warrants championship aspirations, if things go the right way.
By all appearances, Ben Simmons' rookie of the year campaign was just the tip of the iceberg for the versatile 22-year-old. His personal affairs aside, he's been working on his jump shot this offseason, as seen below.
And he also recently spent some time with James, a Klutch Sports partner whom he's called a mentor and a big brother. The two appeared earlier this week in an Instagram photo Simmons shared from Los Angeles.
It turns out Simmons and James teamed up in a pick-up game, as well, showing us all what could have been had the two stars united in Philadelphia.
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The silver lining in all of this is that James is now out of the Eastern Conference, giving Philadelphia a clearer path to contention. For nearly a decade now, if LeBron James wasn't on your team, you weren't in the NBA Finals.
If Simmons continues to improve alongside Joel Embiid, it's not going to matter in a few years that James, in his late 30s, didn't come to Philadelphia. These guys are the future of the league, assuming their health cooperates and the organization refines its sales pitch to players around the NBA.