What's Next for the Sixers: Is a Ben Simmons Trade on the Horizon?

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The Sixers blew an 18-point lead on the road and a 26-point lead at home in back-to-back games in their second round series against the Hawks before winning Game 6 104-99 and losing Game 7 103-96, ending a season for a team that had NBA Championship aspirations. Losing three home games in a playoff series is unacceptable; Ben Simmons' play had a lot do with their early exit.

Simmons missed 48 free-throws in 12 playoff games this year. He was 25-for-73 from the charity stripe (34.2 percent) and that 34.2 percent free-throw percentage is the worst in NBA Playoffs history (with a minimum of 70 attempts).

Is Ben Simmons Overrated?

Wizards broadcaster Justin Kutcher called Simmons "one of, if not the most overrated players in the NBA" back in March. I see where he is coming from, but I wouldn't call Ben Simmons the most overrated player in the NBA. Simmons does a lot of things really well: he is an elite defensive player, he's one of the best perimeter defenders in the league right now, he's strong, physical, moves his feet, plays clean and smart defense, has wingspan, lateral quickness and he's just so physical. I've seen him neutralize a lot of top guards; Simmons is really good at taking away their strengths, and in that sense he's very valuable down the stretch of big games.

Simmons is a good slasher, he's a good rebounder, he's a good playmaker, he's got good vision, he's great in the open court and he's done a good job initiating offense historically. Simmons has done that for the past four years. The problem is that he's gotten NBA All-Star nods, All-NBA nods, the Rookie of the Year award and a lot of critical acclaim. He's been praised like a borderline superstar, but I think that he's a borderline All-Star. I look at his game from the perspective of an eye test, in addition to a statistical and production standpoint and who he is to his team. That said, I would take many guys in the league over him simply because they have a complete game, offensively speaking, which is the most important thing in basketball. Simmons is not on the level of Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, Brandon Ingram, Jaylen Brown or so many guys that are borderline superstars, but he gets the nod right away.

This was year one of a five-year, $177 million contract with the Sixers. Simmons had just five points and only attempted four shots in Game 7 against the Hawks. And don't forget about this infamous play:

Ben Simmons' stats in the 4th quarter in this second round series against the Hawks are pretty damning:

Game 1: 2-2 FG

Game 2: 0-0 FG

Game 3: 1-1 FG

Game 4: 0-0 FG

Game 5: 0-0 FG

Game 6: 0-0 FG

Game 7: 0-0 FG

Seeing Simmons take All-Star spots from elite talent and get this level of acclaim bothered me. The truth is that he is a flawed player, and it hurt his team.

Ben Simmons is an impure player. He couldn't make his free-throws and he was scared to look at the basket. It was frustrating to watch. This hurt the Sixers' entire offense and had a direct effect on all four other players on the floor. They should have put Shake Milton or Seth Curry at the 1 and played real basketball. Simmons should have played the Draymond Green role. He shouldn't have been a perimeter player.
If you are the Sixers, you have to move Ben Simmons to the 4 and have him be a superstar version of Draymond Green, or trade him for an actual wing scorer and a threat.

Defense Matters, But...

Defense 100 percent matters. Please don’t get me wrong, but basketball is about a bucket and it always comes down to it in the playoffs. The Sixers lacked offensive flow and it cost them their season. Teams drop on Simmons in the clutch and it hurts Joel Embiid, who has major spacing issues because the opponents don't have to play Simmons close knowing that he is scared to shoot and Embiid can't get certain looks and can't get in certain spots. He has to adjust a little bit, he has to fight a little bit and that all comes down to Simmons. If the Sixers want to be more than just a regular season team, then they have to switch his position or trade him. The game looks very cool on TV, but the NBA courts become a very small space with all this athleticism and length.

Again, not to beat a dead horse, but Ben Simmons was an offensive liability. He was scared to look at the hoop. The Sixers had no offensive flow and Simmons has completely lost confidence. We may have seen his last game with the Sixers.

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