Opinion: Why the Sixers Should Have Taken the Detroit Deal

NBA: FEB 28 Nuggets at Clippers
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 28: Denver Nuggets forward Jerami Grant (9) rubs his hands together before the Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Clippers game on February 28, 2020, at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)

One of the latest rumors that have flown across the radar was that the Detroit Pistons had offered the Sixers a trade package for Ben Simmons in September. The deal was to include Jerami Grant, Kelly Olynyk, Saddiq Bey, and a first-round pick for Simmons.

There’s no reason for the Sixers to turn this type of offer down. Out of all the hypotheticals that have been thrown around this year, this reported offer actually would make sense for the team.

First, if we look at Ben Simmons, what is he giving the Sixers?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Well, sure headaches, but on the court, there have been zero games, and there’s no intent from Simmons to even get near the court with the team. He’s sticking to his guns after, apparently, vowing to never play for the Sixers again.

Daryl Morey, General Manager of the Sixers, can’t keep up with the whole “we still hope to have him back and contributing to the team” routine. It has become old, really quick. The time to move Simmons is today. It was actually three months ago but, it seems that being stubborn is a standard trait among GMs.

So, why would the Detroit trade make sense for the Sixers? Glad you asked.

Jerami Grant, who’s been out since 12/16 with a UCL thumb ligament sprain, is talented enough that he can actually play four positions on the floor. Listed as a power forward/small forward, those are the primary spots he’ll suit up for, but, given the need, he could move around the floor. He’s averaged 20.1 points per game this season, before the injury, to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

Those are pretty good numbers for a guy that gets picked on quite a bit because of the lack of talent Detroit has. Grant is still just twenty-seven years old and is looking for a contract extension. The word is being put out there is that if he’s moved, he wants to go somewhere that he’ll be the focal point of the offense. With Joel Embiid in Philly, that’s not going to happen but, to have him as your number two working with Embiid, I’m sure he could be convinced.

The other two players in the trade are Kelly Olynyk and Saddiq Bey. Olynyk is thirty years old and has some mileage on him. at 6’11” and 240 lbs, he stretches the floor with his outside shooting. For his career, Olynyk is a 36.6% three-point shooter. The Sixers would be Olynyk’s fifth team and the fourth in the past two years but, he can still give the team 20-25 minutes per game and close to 14 points. That’s not a bad haul for a guy that would be getting in with reserves and spacing the floor if he played alongside Embiid and probably seeing some more open looks from the outside.

Saddiq Bey is a bonus. At 22 years old, the small forward/shooting guard from Villanova is young enough to grow with the Sixers and not have to be forced into a starter’s role. He’d also enjoy some time with the second unit, where he’d more than likely have an easier time with other teams’ secondary defenses.

Bey is having a very good year, averaging 15.2 points per game to go along with six rebounds and 2.4 assists. He’s an 84% free throw shooter, and despite shooting just 33.4% from the three-point line this year, he’s actually a very good long-range shooter. The Sixers would wind up with a real steal if they were to get him included in any deal.

The trade also had the Pistons offering a first-round draft pick. As it stands today, the Pistons have the second-worst record in the NBA, so another top pick at the top of the draft wouldn’t hurt the Sixers in the off-season.

The final part of this, which makes the most sense to me and I’d imagine a lot of Sixers fans, is that Simmons would not only be gone from the team but, he’d be in Detroit, with one of the worst teams in the league and one that doesn’t really have any shot of getting that much better any time soon. For all the drama and headaches that Simmons has caused the team, the city, and its fans, I think it’s only fitting that they send him to a bottom-five team.

At this point in all of this drama and nonsense, I’d be ok with the Pistons just sending the team a few autographed Vinnie Johnson jerseys.