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Ben Simmons is back, but that doesn't mean much for Philadelphia's title hopes

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The Philadelphia 76ers recently got their All-Star point guard back when Ben Simmons decided to show up for team practice a few days ago. While many felt that this would be a challenging situation to overcome as far as Sixers teammates’ reactions to returning Ben Simmons

">team chemistry is concerned, it seems like the Sixers are ready to move on and get to work.

Simmons' return to team activities signals a significant step towards resolving one of the ugliest sagas in recent NBA history. However, the real work begins now, and while publicly players have said all the right things regarding his return, it's hard to believe that this is all water under the bridge at this point. Even so, the Philadelphia 76ers were barely considered a championship contender despite being the best team in the Eastern Conference last year.

Coming into this season, the only thing that has changed in their dynamic is the possibility of a fractured relationship between Simmons and the rest of the team. The rehabilitation of this relationship is far from unsolvable, but in reality, Philadelphia is now further from clearing its most significant hurdle to winning a championship.

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Ben might be back, but he still doesn't have a jumper, and Philadelphia's offense is still not built around his immense talents as a playmaker. As long as Joel Embiid is on the team, it makes the most sense to have Embiid be the focal point of the offense, and this means that they need shooters that can make plays off the dribble. Quite frankly, Ben is better off as a trade chip for the Sixers, and even if you don't get a "James Harden" type of package for him, Philadelphia needs to move Simmons ASAP.

Why is that? Because at the end of the day, Simmons shrinks the floor for Embiid and guys like Tobias Harris that need room to operate. This isn't the Milwaukee Bucks with shooters surrounding Giannis; it's a team built around a big man in Embiid that is most effective when playing close to the basket.

Some might suggest that Embiid plays in the dunker spot more to allow Simmons to be the virtual power forward in their closing five. Still, the issue there is that Embiid is not much of a lob threat, so it wouldn't exactly be like Draymond Green throwing lobs to James Wiseman or Javale McGee back in the day. Joel is also best when he is on the block, and getting up high to catch lobs puts a strain on his lower body that the Sixers would rather live without. Unfortunately, maximizing Simmons' talents means negating some of Embiid's, which is not Philadelphia's path to a championship.

Expect the Sixers to try and get the most out of Simmons during games where they appear to be putting Embiid under load management. Both Embiid and Philadelphia want to win, so managing his minutes in the regular season is likely in the cards for the Sixers coaching staff. With Embiid sitting out games, Simmons should be able to showcase his talents and drive up his value, and if that happens, Ben is likely somewhere else by the trade deadline.

The Sixers have long dismissed the fact that their two stars don't work well together, and perhaps the recent difficulties placed on the relationship between Simmons and the team is exactly what the doctor ordered. Ben might be back but not for long, especially if Philadelphia wants to contend for a title this year.

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