Ben Simmons demanded a trade away from the Philadelphia 76ers during the off-season and has not played for the team at all this year. He has had plethora of reasons or excuses, depending on your view point of the situation.
It's been reported that Simmons has been dealing with a back issue along with mental health issues and that has kept him off the court. Unless you are around Simmons, it is hard to accuse him of flat out lying about those issues but that fact that those issues came up after he demanded a trade had some people giving the. 6'10" point guard, the side-eye.
On February 10th, Simmons' wish was granted as he was a part of a trade that will send him to the Brooklyn Nets. Here are the details of the trade.
Philadelphia 76ers Receive:
Brooklyn Nets Receive:
2022 first-round pick (unprotected)
2027 first-round pick (protected)
You may be reading this article and thinking, it seems like yesterday, that James Harden was the disgruntled superstar asking for a trade to get him out of town. Well it wasn't yesterday but it was last season. Harden was unhappy in Houston and asked for a trade. He looked to be out-of-shape, overweight and dogging it on the court before being traded to Brooklyn. The bearded one was granted his wish and shipped to the Nets, just to turn around and be shipped to Philadelphia. Seems like Harden couldn't find a direct flight from Houston to Philadephia and was just stuck at Brooklyn's airport for a really long layover.
Even with all the questions about Harden's commitment issues, he is still an amazing talent. This year in a "down year" he is averaging, 22.5 points, 10.2 assists, and 8 rebounds per game. The 76ers are adding that production to go along with MVP (Most Valuable Player) candidate Joel Embiid. The play-making ability of Harden will definitely benefit Embiid, Tobias Harris and the rest of that line-up in a major way. If Harden plays up to his potential, the 76ers may threaten the Bucks, Nets, and Bulls in the eastern conference playoffs. Can you imagine the pressure a Harden-Embiid pick and roll, will put on defenses?
The Nets are currently on a nine game losing streak and if the season ended today would be playing in the play-in tournament. Will adding Ben Simmons change that? It should, one of the weaknesses for Brooklyn this season and last, was consistency on the defensive end. Well, they were consistently bad for long stretches then somehow found out how to play decent defense in the playoffs.
Brooklyn is currently 20th in defense in the NBA, allowing 111.1 points per game. Ben Simmons should help with that issue immediately as he is one of the best and most versatile defenders in the league. When Kevin Durant comes back from his injury, there will be times where the Nets will have a scary amount of size on the court between Durant, Andre Drummond and Simmons. How will ball-handlers navigate through that jungle of arms and legs?
The big question with Ben Simmons is can you trust him on the offensive end of the court when the game is on the line. That will be a question that hopefully Brooklyn can answer before the playoffs start. The Nets have two of the best scorers in history in Durant and Kyrie Irving. Simmons should not be expected to do much. If he is getting his normal 16 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds per game while being a menace on the defensive end, the Nets will love him.
Whenever a big trade goes down, the question is, who won the trade? Overall I love that the Nets got Simmons and Seth Curry in this deal. Curry is a great three point shooter and not a bad defender himself. He will be a part of the clutch-time lineups for sure. The 76ers are taking a huge gamble that Harden will finally "be happy" and that the down efficiency numbers of shooting 41% from the floor and 32% from three point range, are just a glitch in the system and not a trend of a player on the downside of his career. So I do have to say that in a vacuum, Brooklyn won the deal but the 76ers might win the war, if Harden's guns aren't rusted.