The 2016 number 1 overall pick continues to be a playoff liability
Let’s be honest about Ben Simmons, he’s a 7 foot point guard who should be dominating the league, but with terrible mid and long range shooting he can’t seem to find his game in the half court. The Philadelphia 76ers face a real problem with their playoff future, and the construction of this team.
Having invested $30 million per season on Simmons, the 76ers are intended to be a two superstar team, but the reality is that Joel Embiid is the only reliable scorer on this roster.
Year by year Embiid has improved his form, and this season had an MVP contending performance and continued to keep his impact through the playoffs. The same cannot be said about Ben Simmons.
Is Ben Simmons worth $30 million a season?
Before we dive deep into the stats, let’s explore what the eye test showed during the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The 76ers faced a game Atlanta Hawks, who played tough defense all series and with a variety of 3 point shooters kept the heat on Philadelphia to score.
By just watching Simmons throughout the playoffs several glaring issues that we have been seeing with his game hit an absolute breaking point. Simmons isn’t just a bad mid & long range shooter, he is an abysmal free throw shooter.
For a “score first” point guard, who makes his living driving to the hoop, he converted a miserable 34.2% on his free throws. These are free throw numbers that would make players like Shaq and Dwight Howard blush.
It became evident throughout each game in the playoffs that Simmons was not only unwilling to shoot, but also unwilling to drive for his free of going through the free throw line. Truly extraordinary when you keep in mind this is a $30mil per year super max player.
While there are multiple, effective PGs in the league who get by as bad shooters such as Russell Westbrook, Simmons is at the point now where he is completely unwilling to even attempt 3 point shots. This is not an exaggeration, Ben Simmons attempted a shocking ZERO 3 pointer throughout the ENTIRE playoffs. Wow.
Diving deeper into his stats this season, the picture only gets more shocking.
During the regular season, which Simmons has always performed better, he averaged a pitiful 14.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 6.9 apg. These are not the numbers of a supermax player, and there may be no team in the NBA that is in more trouble with a contract than the 76ers with all this considered.
image credit – si.com
What should the Philadelphia 76ers do with Ben Simmons?
Trade him if possible. I think it’s telling that right after the conclusion of game 7, Doc Rivers was asked directly if he thought Ben Simmons could be the PG for a championship quality team to which he responded: “I don’t know the answer to that question right now,” Rivers said.
To repeat, we are talking about a former no.1 overall pick and a super max player. There has been word from the 76ers that they are going to work on Simmon’s shooting in the off season. We have heard this story before, and five seasons into his career it’s hard to imagine much will change in one off season. The truth is that it is unbelievable that Ben Simmons hasn’t taken the time or effort to even become an average shooter. Considering the word from the 76ers it might be entirely plausible that none of the other NBA teams are at all interested in Simmons’ services. Which would be a multi-year nightmare for the Philadelphia 76ers.