Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers need to come to a
realization: they are better off separated. Rather than trying to
force a square peg into a round hole, a trade would benefit both
parties. Simmons needs to spread his wings elsewhere, while the
Sixers need to find a better running mate alongside superstar Joel
Once Embiid and head coach Doc Rivers seemingly threw Simmons under the bus
after he passed up a wide-open dunk opportunity in the Eastern
Conference Semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks, the long-term
relationship between Simmons and Philadelphia officially
The 25-year-old All-NBA player with fruitful playmaking and
defensive upside has reportedly been avoiding contact with Sixers
management, and recently Simmons’ agency Klutch Sports officially
requested a trade. Simmons isn't planning to attend training camp,
but Sixers GM Daryl Morey seems to have dug his heels into the sand
even further on his asking price for Simmons in any potential trade
We’re heading down the tracks of an explosive and rather ugly
ending between Simmons and the team who drafted him No. 1 overall
in 2016. With seemingly no ending in sight, at least from the
Sixers’ standpoint, how will this situation play out? There are
plenty of potential scenarios, but here's one resolution that could
make sense for both Simmons and the Sixers.
If Philadelphia is holding out hope that Damian Lillard or
Bradley Beal will ask for a trade and delays a Simmons deal until
midseason, you’re playing a dangerous game. That could create a
chaotic locker-room environment for several months until February’s
trade deadline. Even then, it’s a risky gamble that could even sour
someone like Embiid, who certainly doesn't want to deal with that
headache for three months of the season. Even if Simmons stays away
from the team while the front office holds out for a better trade,
it would be an awkward period for the players and hang over the
What’s the best return that Philadelphia can hope for in a
Simmons blockbuster? Right now, there are still teams out there who
could provide Morey and Co. with exactly what they need to make
life easier for Embiid. How about C.J. McCollum from Portland?
Malcolm Brogdon and/or T.J. Warren from Indiana? D’Angelo Russell
from Minnesota? Maybe Sacramento eventually changes their tune on
De’Aaron Fox's availability?
There are potential resolutions just waiting to be discussed on
a deeper, realistic level. The question is, will Morey be the one
to back off his asking price before Simmons eventually shows up and
this becomes a James Harden-esque situation in Houston?
On the other hand, Simmons also needs to have a realization of
his own. Being reluctant to add more offensive pizzazz to his
unique player profile, it boxes him in to his potential high-end
outcomes. Already a Defensive-Player-of-the-Year finalist who
offers unicorn-like attributes as a playmaker and transition
threat, Simmons will never be able to reach those superstar-like
outcomes in the City of Brotherly Love. It’s fairly simple.
Simmons is Draymond Green, not Magic Johnson. Will Simmons ever
embrace that, though? That’s the $100-plus million dollar question.
Simmons is a more athletic, lengthier version of a prime Draymond.
Remember how Green was the glue to the Warriors teams that ran
roughshod throughout the Association, causing a league-wide change
and influencing the modern era? It’s an idea Simmons should embrace
full-on. Simmons can become a better version of prime Green, which
is why interested organizations should be giddy about getting him
aboard as soon as possible.
Imagine Simmons alongside Karl-Anthony Towns in the
Timberwolves’ frontcourt? What about Simmons functioning as the
fulcrum of a Kings core alongside Tyrese Haliburton and Davion
Mitchell? What if Simmons is the missing piece to keeping Lillard
happy in the Pacific Northwest? Those are really enticing scenarios
to envision, and the 25-year-old point-forward still has endless
amounts of untapped potential ahead in his young career.
When looking over Simmons' numbers compared to Green in his
prime (2014-2018), the similarities are uncanny. Simmons averages
15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals on 57.9 True
Shooting Percentage, while Green averaged 11.7 points, 8.3
rebounds, 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals on 55.1 True Shooting
Simmons as the super-charged version of Green is a
future-Hall-of-Fame player. In the right environment, Simmons could
be the missing piece who vaults a playoff hopeful into a truly
Simmons has elements of his game that haven't been utilized
enough in Philadelphia. As a passer in short-roll situations,
Simmons has a fantastic knack for hitting those reads perfectly. In
the pick-and-roll, Simmons’ gravity as a drive threat opens up the
corner threes, sucking in defenders to create one of the most
efficient shots in basketball with regularity. Running lineups with
Simmons as the primary big, similar to what Golden State has
employed over the years with Green, would be very effective. It
creates pick-your-poison scenarios where Simmons can operate out of
the post, deciding between hitting the the cutter or spaced-out
shooter. Simmons’ aggressive-scoring nature also allows him to
punish slow-footed defenders on explosive moves to the basket.
Although Simmons may never provide optimum spacing for others, he
can still destroy defenses when utilized in a Green-esque manner
with even more upside.
Philadelphia and Simmons are heading toward a divorce after five
years. However, the grass certainly seems to be greener on the
other side for both parties. In a return for Simmons, Philadelphia
should be able to further cement Embiid as one of the NBA’s most
dominant bigs while extending their championship window. Meanwhile,
Simmons should begin to explore a new career-altering path that
would further utilize his unique talents. It’s a win-win scenario
where both sides come out on top at the end of a potentially
It’s a realization that is coming down the highway at full
speed. Now, as the 2021-22 season approaches, it remains to be seen
how long this situation will play out.