Simmons Looking for a Clean Slate
Looking back at the past two and half months, one could make the argument that former #1 overall pick Ben Simmons, has heard the most scrutiny than any other player in the league.
After losing as the #1 seed against the underdog Atlanta Hawks, Simmons immediately heard the blame. In the press conference after Philadelphia dropped Game 7, his coach Doc Rivers expressed doubt in the chances of the 76ers eventually winning a ring with Simmons leading the team.
Just recently, Simmons demanded a trade which caused shock waves throughout the league.
Throughout his career, Simmons has shown the league that he is an elite contributor in every facet of the game besides his shot. He is a great defender, passer, rebounder, etc. Nowadays, however, if you cannot consistently shoot from the outside your value, in the league can only reach a certain height.
It will be up to Ben Simmons to work on his shot. Not only is it worrisome about his accuracy shooting the ball, it seems like he does not even have the confidence to attempt them. In the postseason especially against Atlanta, Simmons looked frightened to get fouled and get sent to the free-throw line.
Considering the relationship between him and the Sixers is questionable at best, I do not expect him to return to Philadelphia. Therefore, I put together two potential teams that could be good fits given Simmons’ skillset:
Entering a smaller market team without many expectations could be a blessing in disguise for Simmons. It seemed like half his problems were not only his on-court play with the team but his ability to manage a town like Philadelphia especially with the intense media and fan base surrounding him.
If he were to get traded to the Wizards, I could see him fitting in nicely alongside All-Star Bradley Beal. Simmons would be able to run the offense and set up Beal in catch-and-shoot situations.
It would create nice scoring opportunities for Washington and take a lot of pressure off Beal. While Simmons works on his shot, he will not feel the pressure he did in Philadelphia. I like the fit a lot with the Wizards as they would continue to ascend into a sneaky playoff team the more Simmons improves from the outside.
New Orleans Pelicans
Similar to Washington, New Orleans is another small-market team that has some talent on their roster. Headlined by Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans are looking to fill in the void left by former point guard Lonzo Ball.
When General Manager David Griffin brought in Ball as part of the Anthony Davis trade package, it was clear that Griffin valued what Ball brought to the table despite his questionable shooting at the time.
One could make the argument that Simmons does everything Ball does but even better in those areas. I like the fit alongside Willamson and Ingram as he can focus on setting up his guys rather than being asked to score much.
Look for the Pelicans to finally reach the playoffs if they are able to pull off a trade for the star point guard.