This isn’t the first time Ben Simmons has had his “own” team as so many fans wondered what a roster built around his skill set would look like. It is the first instance that he’s been the, umm, marque name of an NBA franchise, but he was the No. 1 guy at LSU, and forfeited the opportunity to be the engine of the Australian national team.
Simmons’ supernatural athletic ability made him the prospect he was, and everybody fell in love with his passing while overlooking the fact that maybe he was so good at finding open teammates because he didn’t want to expose his fatal flaw.
A lack of shooting was not Ben Simmons’ downfall
Being a poor shooter isn’t Simmons’ Achilles heel. It’s that he’s never improved, and if anything has become worse. He’s unquestionably less effective now than he was in Philadelphia, and whatever happened during the hiatus that led him to Brooklyn has accelerated the speed at which his game is atrophying.
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Look, he’s clearly one of the most athletically gifted players we’ve seen. He’s 6-foot-10, and has great balance, strength, and speed. He can guard all five positions, pass, and is/was a monster in transition.
There were games as a 76er when Joel Embiid was out that Simmons would turn into a track meet, and it made fans wonder if he could do that full-time. If he could be the fulcrum of an offense, and do a taller Jason Kidd impression.
I think we can safely put that fantasy to rest, and perhaps also his career.
Simmons is unplayable to the point of being out of the league
Nets coach Jacque Vaughn only gave Simmons 12 minutes of floor time in Brooklyn’s loss to the Knicks on Monday, and after the game, he rattled off the risks of playing his highest-paid guy.
“It’s going to be some work that we have to do. Because, you just take a look at what the lineups could potentially look like. You put another big next to Ben, then you got to figure out what the spacing is around him. Then, if you put another playmaker next to him, then you got to figure out what Ben looks like without the basketball. Then, if you go small with Ben, then you have to figure out can you rebound enough with him?”
That’s so damning that it might as well be an indictment. So the only scenario in which Simmons gets playing time is if he has the ball in his hands the entire time? Then you figure he’s going to continue passing up late-game open layups because he’s deathly afraid of going to the line. After all that, it’s a wonder how Vaughn found 12 minutes for him at all.
Simmons has two years, $78 million left on his deal, and there will be no trade suitors until he’s an expiring contract. Even then, I could see an organization acquiring Simmons, and telling him to stay away because he’s a sunk cost.
You can’t rehabilitate someone who’s unwilling to change. Good lord, I sound like I’m talking about an addict. No, this isn’t a guy with a drug problem, it’s an uncoachable basketball player. A former No. 1 overall pick, Rookie of the Year, All-NBA, and all-defense guy who hasn’t suffered a major injury but is in jeopardy of having his career cut short for reasons no one, likely not even Simmons, understands.