The hot topic of the last few days in the NBA world has been the Sixers getting upset by the Hawks in seven games, or to be more specific, all the criticism coming towards the way of their star Ben Simmons. The inability to shoot and make free throws led to Ben playing passive, especially in the 4th quarter, making it easy for the Hawks to defend them and eventually win the series.
Considering he has been a perennial All-Star for a few years now and by many proclaimed as one of the up-and-coming superstars in the league, this has come as a cold shower for the Australian. Everyone from fans, analysts, coaches, and even his team have expressed their frustrations with Ben’s development. After all, with the psychical tools and the talent Ben possesses, it is hard to imagine how he still hasn’t been able to take his game to the next level.
6’11” and 240 lbs, strong, agile, and slick with the ball, able to dominate in transition, get to the basket and get his teammates involved, all while being one of the better defenders in the league. The only thing missing in his game is a jumper. Not even a three-point jumper, but any kind of jumper. For years we have been saying that when Simmons develops a decent enough jumper, he could be “the next LeBron James.” Well, now, five years later, we are still saying the same thing. At this point, the question is, does he not have the work ethic, is there a psychological barrier, or some third reason for the inexplainable stagnation in his game?
Former NBA great and one of the best point guards ever, Magic Johson is one of the rare players compared to Ben Simmons. Big point guards, with an excellent feeling for the ball and a vision to feed their teammates. Magic was far from the best shooter, but he managed to make it work and be good enough not to let it impact his game. So what does Magic think Ben should do? The answer may be a change of scenery.
“He needs a new start, a fresh start. So it’s time to trade him. It will be good for the Sixers as well as good for Ben. And his confidence. He needs to get with a veteran so that they can probably bring that confidence back. Make him understand that if you’re aggressive, it makes the team better.”Magic Johnson, NBA on ESPN
Magic is on point, as Ben should be on his way to Morey’s office, requesting a trade. That solution makes sense for both sides. From the 76ers perspective, they have given this team a couple of shots, and they have failed to deliver. Now even though Ben’s trade value has dipped dramatically, they can still get some solid pieces in exchange and start in a new direction. Some of the names mentioned are C.J. McCollum, Kyle Lowry, and Zach LaVine.
On the other side, Ben needs a change of scenery sooner rather than later. It is widely known how tough and demanding the Philadelphia crowd is, and all that pressure has gotten the worst out of Simmons, especially in the playoffs. In a new city, organization and situation, he could find a way to utilize his strengths better and maybe even improve his flaws. A small-market team without high expectations could be the solution, but there is the question of will Ben be willing to go that route and practically start from scratch. We will have to wait and see, but one thing is for sure. His days in Philly are most likely done.
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