The Philadelphia 76ers cannot win a championship with Ben Simmons — I don’t care what Doc Rivers says.
This thing is over, finished, and done — “All tree of them,” in my Birdman voice.
Ben Simmons has demanded out of Philadelphia and no matter how much damage control the Sixers organization tries to roll out (see the team’s head coach making an appearance on ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday morning), there’s no shot Simmons will be back there.
That leads me to officially play the “Where Will Ben Simmons Land” game we’ve all been participating in on social media since Simmons decided to pass up a wide open dunk in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Let’s explore where he might end up, using BetMGM odds.
The Golden State Warriors have been brought up for a reason. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have reportedly made it clear to management they want the franchise to focus on the pursuit of a championship.
In other words, they’re looking for someone who can help immediately.
However, Warriors owner Joe Lacob pretty much shut that down yesterday.
“In some ways, it doesn’t really fit what we’re doing. He makes a lot of money. And, can he finish games? I don’t know,” Lacob told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He’s very talented. The problem is: We have Draymond. Draymond and him are very similar in the sense that neither one really shoots and they do a lot of the playmaking. That’s one issue. The salary structure is another.”
I do think Ben Simmons is that guy, somewhere.
Simmons, 25, isn’t some scrub — let’s just dead that narrative right now.
Is he allergic to shooting jump shots? Yes.
Is he shooting with the wrong hand? Yes.
Is he a player that sometimes carries a demeanor that comes off as if he doesn’t like basketball? Yes.
But he is extremely talented and, regardless of your feelings about his personality, his skillset is an asset — heck, it was an asset with Philadelphia until things got ugly at the end.
Since entering the league in 2016, Simmons is averaging 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.7 blocks.
“But, Quinton, he’s 6-foot-11! Anybody that size can do that!”
Shut up. Do I need to include a list of 7-foot paperweights who’ve come and gone throughout the history of the Association? Ok then.
He can handle the ball, facilitate, and defend at an elite level — he’s also just 25 years old and his game has a lot of growing to do.
I’m not saying he’s the perfect player. I’m not saying that sometimes he displays a lack of mental fortitude. What I am saying is that in most situations he’d be a positive asset. He’s proven that.
Insert the San Antonio Spurs.
The Spurs have engaged with Philadelphia in Simmons trade talks, Marc Stein reported, along with the Toronto Raptors, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers and Sacramento Kings.
Gregg Popovich is still coaching. Why? Presumably because he loves it, but ultimately because he wants to win. Pop hasn’t had a player with the talent and upside of Ben Simmons in a very long time. The roster has a lot of nice pieces that I’m a huge fan of, but none of them have the superstar ceiling of Simmons.
Pop, also, is a huge fan of Simmons and doesn’t care that he hasn’t added a jump shot to his game because he’s already elite.
“It would enhance his game, obviously, that can’t be argued with,” said Popovich a few months ago, per Sports Illustrated. “But his skills and all of his physical skills, basketball skills, the way he understands the game, as unselfish as he is, he’s elite already. Who gives a damn if he can’t shoot?”
One of the best coaches in sports history and Quinton Mayo giving out the same assessment of an NBA player.
I think not.
Yes, the Spurs would be a boring situation but that’s what Simmons needs! He needs boring!
Get under the tutelage of one of the greatest basketball minds the game has ever seen. Remove yourself from the limelight that’s been on you since filming the “One & Done” documentary that detailed every waking moment of your life before you even stepped foot on the NBA hardwood.
Dip off and work on yourself.
It’s sort of like the TikTok trend of people going through a breakup and deciding to work out/post seductive photos so their ex can see what they’re missing.
“I was the point forward they didn’t want so I became the point forward they couldn’t have.”
A huge hurdle in this union is the fact that Simmons is owed nearly $150 million over the course of the next four years.
Another hurdle is that the Spurs don’t have an elite-level player that could easily make the money match.
I'd guess that any Spurs deal involving Simmons would be a multi-team trade.
The Spurs with Ben Simmons gives Pop a chance to build around a real star for the next few seasons before he decides to call it quits. It gives Simmons a much-needed change of scenery within a prestigious and well-run organization.
And it’ll land the Sixers some talented, young assets (Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker IV — some combination of two of those players and future firsts) to pair beside Joel Embiid.
I’m not saying that they would make the Sixers a championship contender, but it’s better than getting nothing out of Simmons.
There are only 30 days left until the start of the NBA Season! Quinton, Trysta Krick & Ryan Horvat start their season previews with the two teams that faced off in the NBA Finals.