Ben Simmons is apparently the biggest project in the NBA. A tantalizing prospect (kinda' alarming to be a tantalizing prospect in 2021 when you were drafted in 2016) with one major flaw. It's obvious the 76ers will try to trade him, and word on the street is a lot of teams are still interested in Simmons.
The Orlandos of the world can't get their hand on a talent like Simmons, despite his major flaw, but the reality of the situation is that the teams that might take a swing at Simmons probably don't have the assets that would make the 76ers contenders. Daryl Morey is looking for players that can support Joel Embiid in winning a ring, not build for the future. So how can the 76ers convince teams with real assets to trade for Simmons? Upside.
The most alarming story about Simmons in this entire saga wasn't the one about his horrible shooting numbers, the layups and dunks he passed on, or even the fact he might be shooting with the wrong hand. The worst part of it all is the story about Simmons ditching a shooting coach, Brad Townsend, the 76ers hired specifically to work with him in order to work on his shot with his brother, a former low-level Division I guard and assistant coach who now coaches at Division II Colorado Christian University. To make things worse, Simmons' shot improved while working with Townsend, but in consultation with his family and agent Rich Paul, he decided to stop a partnership that showed results and go work with his brother.
The biggest problem of the Ben Simmons experience is that he's basically the same player he was when drafted in 2016. Every attempt the 76ers made to motivate Simmons to improve has been met with rejection, or even worse, ghosting. That's why the latest report about Simmons is troublesome for Philly fans.
They haven’t been able to really even get in touch with Ben since the season ended. Like, there was an intent to have a workout plan or whatever — like in any offseason. That’s always kind of been the case, that the Sixers haven’t been able to align with a development plan [for Ben] — that’s kind of what Yaron Weitzman wrote at Fox Sports in that big story. It just doesn’t sound like there’s ever been movement to come together on the same page to do that, and it hasn’t really worked this summer either. I think that’s not something that’s an encouraging sign for him being in Philadelphia in the future.
Jake Fischer, Liberty Ballers
After this news came out, the 76ers told Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice that that's not true and that they talked with Ben on his birthday and that they've been in touch throughout the summer. Allow me to remain skeptical of such a vague statement that tries to deny the one thing that is most damaging to the trade value of Ben Simmons.
If you are Portland or Washington and are considering trading your star player that signaled he might ask for a trade soon, Ben Simmons is the highest upside guy you could get this summer. But, that upside is predicated on Simmons accepting he needs to change his approach and work on his shot. Everything we've learned about Simmons points in the opposite direction.
He hasn't added anything significant to his repertoire since entering the league in 2016, hasn't produced anything significant in the postseason, yet got a max extension. No wonder the guy isn't willing to step outside his comfort zone. As we've covered before, Michael Jordan was right when he predicted this in 2005.
“The difference is, in our sport, you get paid off of potential – a rock star, you have to be good. Most young kids that come in now, we don’t know how good they’re gonna be, yet they got 5-year guarantees, millions of dollars, admiration of many, endorsement deals. … When corporate America came to us [MJ and Barkley], we had a game that could validate their admiration and sponsorships. Now they get that before they play one game. In essence, you’re paying the kid off of potential that he may be great. It sets a bad work ethic. When you get something so easily, you’re not gonna work as hard.”
Michael Jordan, Oprah Show
Would you trade Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard for a guy who's ghosting his current employer? He can have all the potential in the world, but if the guy won't pick up the phone and accept the responsibility that comes with a 5 year / $177,243,360 contract, I wouldn't trade for him either.