Why team shouldn’t play Ben Simmons


PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers look

At some point in life, we may face a situation where a coworker becomes a company distraction. Chronic lateness. Erratic behavior. Lack of production. Whatever the case, that person may soon be on their way out the door. Until the bosses make a final decision though, the situation is up in the air and the future is uncertain. This is what the Sixers have faced all season, but according to a report from The Athletic, this could change soon.

According to an article written by Sam Amick, Ben Simmons “would be ready to play after a few weeks of intensified conditioning and court action.” For the much maligned point guard, this is a big step. After missing almost half the season so far, for him to suit up, in a Sixers uniform, would cause astonishment in some and incredulity in others. Whichever side you stand, one thing is for sure, the 76ers would be rolling some heavy dice with much to lose if things go sour.

What could go wrong for the Sixers should Ben Simmons play again for Philly? Plenty. Let’s explore a number of negative consequences if he gets reinserted into the lineup and reintroduced to the city.

Why the Sixers shouldn’t play Ben Simmons: On the court issues

Let’s face it. Ben Simmons is a 3x All-Star and runner-up to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award. There is no way to deny that. I have been critical of Simmons in the past, but I am foolish to think that he lacks any value to a team. That being said, there are several reasons why I wouldn’t bring him back to Philly to play alongside Joel Embiid and company. Speaking of Embiid…

Have you seen what the Sixers’ big man has been doing lately? He was December’s NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month, collecting Sixers’ consecutive game scoring records like pro athletes collect NFTs. The All-Star center has been elevating his game and steamrolling through opponents with ease. To bring Ben Simmons back would interrupt Embiid’s progress and maybe even detour it. Why? Look at the spacing.

Let’s start with his replacement. With Simmons out of the lineup, Tyrese Maxey has stepped in and already made more 3-pointers this year (41)  than he did last season (31). Yes, he has played more minutes, but he is shooting 38 percent beyond the arc this year and is giving Joel Embiid more room to work in the post.

What was Ben Simmons’ perimeter impact you ask? Let’s just say that Maxey has already made more 3-pointers this year than Simmons has attempted his entire career (34). Do we really want to have Simmons remind us how inept he can be outside the paint again?

In addition to losing the valuable 3-point threat of Maxey, there’s the overall minutes you would take away from the second-year guard, who is taking care of the ball much better than Simmons. In only his sophomore season, Maxey is averaging less turnovers this year (1.3) compared to Simmons (3.0) from last season with similar playing minutes. Yes, Simmons averaged more assists, but that difference was only 2.4 dimes per game, adding to that Simmons’ assist numbers have been on the decline.

Besides the point guard duty shift having a negative impact, there is the threat of injury. If Daryl Morey is facing cold shoulders in the trade offer department because of Simmons’ deficiencies, imagine how challenging it would be to make a deal if Simmons gets injured playing for the Sixers. This scenario could be catastrophic because not only would the team have to keep paying Simmons his $30 million plus in salary while convalescing at home, a limited number of teams would risk trading for a player unwilling to shoot perimeter shots who is also recovering from an injury.

Do the Sixers miss Simmons’ playmaking and fast break vision? Perhaps. However, look at how much more smoothly the ball moves when the offense is not playing four on five in the half court set. Refining this facet of Doc Rivers’ offense between now and the end of the regular season will benefit the team in the playoffs when the game slows down and opponents get back on defense more diligently.

If the negative on-court impact of Simmons returning to the Sixers does not change your mind, just imagine what will happen off the court.

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