Ben Simmons is still the dominant offseason newscaster.
Keith Pompey, of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Simmons told the franchise that “he no longer wants to be a Sixer.” This is the latest in a series of trade rumors that have been swirling since Philadelphia’s defeat to the Atlanta Hawks during the second round of the playoffs.
The 76ers are currently seeking a ransom. According to David Aldridge of The Athletic, they are seeking a minimum of four future first-round picks and an All-Star-level player in “most (but not all) scenarios” for him.
Simmons cost the Sixers leverage. We will only know the outcome of this investigation over time. It’s difficult to assess the worth of someone who, on the best day, looks like the biggest matchup nightmare for opposing sides. On the worst night…
Simmons’ struggles against Hawks are obvious. Game 7 saw him score just five points. But, at 25, Simmons is still an elite player who averages 15.9 points per game, 8.3 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 1.7 steals. He is currently under contract through 2024-25. Simmons has already been selected for three All-Star games, as well as two All-Defensive First Team selections.
A thorough examination is required to assess Simmons’s true value and determine his future. To get an idea of his potential contributions to the team, let’s examine Simmons’ game.
Increasing the speed
Simmons places a lot of pressure on the teams when he is in open court.
According to NBA.com, Simmons created more than a quarter (28.3 percent) of his offence in transition last season, making for one of the highest rates in the league. Simmons’ low turnover rate (21.2%) was a factor in his 27th-place ranking. However, he shot 61.6 percent on transition possessions.
|Play||Frequency||Points per Possession||Percentile|
|Handler of pick-and-roll balls||16.9%||0.73||23.|
|Pick-and-roll roll man||2.6%||0.87||14.7|
Simmons is unique because he can play forward and has the skill of a guard. He stands at 6’11 and has a 7 foot wingspan. Simmons is an imposing threat when it comes to grab-and go. After a miss shot, he’s far too fast for bigs and is too large for guards to manage when he enters the paint.
After he, or another member of his team has secured the rebound it’s time to get on with the racing.
Simmons is also known for picking up deflections and steals in large numbers. (We’ll get to that later). He punishes the teams who are careless about using the ball and makes turnovers an easy offense.
Simmons is a great offensive player who generates lots of offense for his team in transition. Simmons rewards his teammates for taking the court with him. He is particularly adept at kicking 3-point shooters out of the way when defenses collapse.
Simmons assisted on 422 3-pointers over the past two seasons. Per PBP Stats, only Damian Lillard (452), Russell Westbrook (453) and Luka Doncic (485) have created more.
Simmons has some problems at the halfcourt.
Simmons is yet to create a jump shot, which poses a problem. Shot charts sometimes can prove misleading. This isn’t one of these cases.
Out of the 325 field goals that he attempted last season, only 315 were in the paint. He went 7 for 21 (33.3%) from the midrange, and he was 3-for-10 (30.0%) from the 3-point line. Similar numbers were recorded in his first three seasons.
Simmons can finish strong at the rim if defenders push up on him.
However, if they continue to back away from him it could cause spacing problems for all.
These limitations are most detrimental to Simmons at the final game. Because he tends to be drawn towards the dunker spot during slow games, his clutch usage has dropped in all three seasons. Joel Embiid is a dominating paint scorer, whose clutch usage has risen in each of the past three seasons. They often fight over the same piece of real estate.
Simmons’s ability to become a better shot is the best solution. It would make it much harder for defenders not to assist him, but it would still be fascinating to see his perspective on a team in which he is the sole non-shooter. He is more often used as a halfcourt big. He is a great screen-setter and cutter, thanks to his athleticism, size, vision and speed. He can also attack mismatches, from the post and on the perimeter.
Simmons showed glimpses of some of these qualities in Philadelphia but there is still so much to unlock.
An ideal defender for today’s NBA
Simmons excels at this end of court.
Simmons is a disruptive defender. His 1.6 steals per game last season tied him with a group of players for fifth-most in the league. He also averaged 3.5 deflections per game, tying him with T.J. McConnell and Jimmy Butler for third-most.
Simmons, a huge presence at the perimeter who uses his length and size to intimidate ball handlers…
But it can also be a source of chaos and safety.
Simmons can play multiple positions. According to The BBall Index, he was the fifth-most versatile defender in the league last season, the result of him spending an almost equal amount of time guarding point guards, shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards. This skill set is invaluable in any league where you have to be able to play at multiple positions.
Simmons was also known for taking on the most difficult matchups. He posted a matchup difficulty rating of 97.7 in 2020-21, which was the highest on the 76ers and ranked him 25th overall in the league.
Matchups against shifty guards such as Donovan Mitchell and Trae Young show his speed.
He is also able to defend LeBron James and Luka Doncic because of his size.
Simmons is simply the best player who can play defense and can defend as many different positions. Simmons is built to play in today’s perimeter-oriented NBA.
In his short career, Simmons already has two All-Defensive first team selections. Simmons finished second last season in the Defensive Player Of The Year vote, but many consider him the best defender because of his versatility.
“I know Gobert is Gobert and he blocks a lot of shots and does everything, but Simmons is so disruptive,” an anonymous coach told The Athletic. Simmons’ versatility is the best thing about Simmons.
Simmons’ only question on defense is whether he can be a good small-ball five anchor. It’s something that we haven’t seen much of him do yet. This is largely because he has been co-playing with one the most talented centers in the league, Embiid. His blocks have been largely taken away from the rim, and his numbers do not indicate that he is a good deterrent at the basket. He would thrive in a switch system. However, the jury is still out as to whether Simmons can unlock small-ball lineups like Draymond Green.
Simmons’ talent is undisputed. Although Simmons has some weaknesses, he is a great passer and transition player. He is also a good defender. It’s easy to see him excelling in a positive environment because of his versatility at both ends.
It doesn’t matter if Simmons is back with the 76ers, or he changes to a different uniform for next season. There are some things that could help his long-term growth.
What is the first? Be a better midrange shooter.
Simmons has received a lot of attention for his inability to make a 3 point shot. However, he should be shooting more from the midrange to help keep his defenses on track. He didn’t show much willingness to shoot from the midrange last season. However, he did display a bit more in 2017-18 as well as 2018-19.
What is the second? You can improve as a free-throw shooter.
Simmons made 52.0 percent and 59.7% of his free throws in four seasons. He’s a driver who can downhill and should be living at the free-throw line. Being a better free throw shooter might help him become a more aggressive driver.
Publiated at Tue 31 August 2021 22.59:13 (+0000).