With many Sixers fans still ready to chase Ben Simmons out of town with torches and pitchforks, this is a reminder to take a deep breath. Even the most avid supporters of the former Rookie of the Year cannot argue that the lofty expectations of Simmons have not been achieved.
Everyone has seen the memes, heard the Twitter trolls, and listened to the frustrations from fellow fans. While many of these are overstated, the fact of the matter is the bright-shining potential of Ben Simmons has dulled slightly. His stock is at an all-time low following a Hawks series in which the deficiencies in his game were put on full display.
With just under four months until next season tips off, there is plenty of time for NBA GMs to get the sour taste of Ben’s playoffs performance out of their mouths. While he no longer holds enough value (if he ever did) in a trade for a “win-now” and proven superstar, there is still a lot that is appealing about the 24-year old.
Simmons is a three-time all-star, two-time all-defensive team member, and has career averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists. He is elite on the fast-break and is the most versatile defender in the NBA. But for all that he does well, it is the struggles in the halfcourt offense that have been the continued issue for the 6’10 floor general. This will continue to be an issue in the postseason and, while they certainly can coexist successfully, prevents him from being the ideal pairing with Joel Embiid.
Simmons also recently made news by opting out of the Olympics for Australia to focus on “skill development.” This is not a major surprise and it is also worth noting that Simmons has some troubling family issues that he has been forced to deal with all year. No one deserves to deal with such heavy of a burden and he received support from Patty Mills and other members of the Australia National team regarding the decision.
This focus on individual development is important but is not a story that is unfamiliar when it comes to the Sixers. Simmons has been seen on many occasions knocking down free throws, jump shots, and even three-pointers with ease when he is in an open gym. Yet these repetitions have not proven successful in translating into live-game action. It should only be a matter of time for the Ben Simmons shooting propaganda clips to make their way onto the internet and tease fans once again.
While the Sixers sit back and wait for his stock to recover some, there is plenty that is still to unfold around the league. Rather than searching for a deal for what may turn out to be pennies on the dollar, the Sixers would be smart to sit back and see if a potential superstar shakes free. With whispers of guys like Dame Lillard and Donovan Mitchell potentially wanting out, it could certainly be to the Sixers’ benefit to allow the drama surrounding the situations to play out.
The power in the NBA has certainly shifted into the players’ hands and unhappy stars have often been able to force their way out of town regardless of contractual obligations. This was most recently seen with James Harden who took to the media to demand out of Houston despite having two years and a player option remaining on his deal.
Each team in the NBA is doing their respective soul-searching in order to see what is best for the franchise. While the recent meeting between Sixers’ management and Simmons’ agent certainly seemed to indicate the beginning of the end, it is important to note that there has been no trade request. At the moment, there is no need to rush this and it may prove beneficial in the long run to leave the phone on the hook for a little while.
Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire