Ben Simmons should stay

William Ketner, Staff Writer

There’s a saying that goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This is the precise mindset the Philadelphia 76ers should have when it comes to trading away Ben Simmons.

The Sixers own an impressive 12-0 record when all 5 starters play, and sit on top of the standings in the eastern conference. There is no reason that the Sixers should look to trade anybody in the starting 5 with this kind of success going, let alone the point guard.

Not every player on your team has to be an elite scorer or 3-point shooter. Ben Simmons is definitely not. However, there are several other aspects to the game of basketball that Simmons has that not many other players do.

Among NBA point guards, Ben Simmons ranks 2nd in rebounds per game, 4th in assists per game, 4th in steals per game, and leads all point guards in blocks per game. No other point guard can say they are in the top 5 in all of those categories. In fact, only 1 other point guard can say they are in the top 5 in multiple of those categories among point guards. That player is Luka Doncic.

Also, when Simmons decides to get aggressive, his size and quickness makes him a mismatch for almost anyone that defends him in the league. He becomes a very difficult person to stop while on the defensive end of the floor.

These are the types of things that someone on your team has to be able to provide at an elite level, and Ben Simmons can do it with the best of them. No other player that we would get for Simmons would be able to provide the things he does at the level he does.

 Now on defense it gets even better. This season, the Sixers as a team have given up the 11th fewest amount of points per game at 110.2 ppg, but in the 3 games Ben Simmons hasn’t played in, they have given up an average of 116 ppg which would rank them 25th in the league.

Simmons has a rare ability due to his size and athleticism to cover anybody on the floor at once when it comes to defense. It is super valuable having a guy that can cover the other team’s best player regardless of who it is or what position they play each night.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers has stated that he doesn’t need Ben Simmons to be super active shooting. All he wants is for Ben Simmons to be the best version of himself. His skill set is one of a kind and Rivers wants him to be the best version of himself on the court.

“I couldn’t care less about Ben’s shooting. And I’m being honest. I want Ben to be a player. Ben’s a great basketball player. Ben makes plays. Ben has vision that only 5-10 guys in the NBA have. And he has it with size,” Rivers said in an interview with TalkBasket.

Rivers knows that you don’t necessarily have to have a guard that can shoot the lights of a building. While in Boston, he was able to win a championship with Rajon Rondo, who is not a guard know for his ability to put the ball in the basket from beyond the 3-point-line.

“We won a world championship in Boston with Rajon Rondo, who they quote-unquote said you can’t win with a non-shooting guard on the floor. Well, we didn’t have a problem winning at all that year,” Rivers said, in the same interview with TalkBasket.

Many people have been saying that Simmons is incapable of carrying a team through a game without Joel Embiid. However, Embiid has just the same amount of struggles carrying this team through a game without Simmons.

In 4 games where Ben Simmons played and Embiid did not, the Sixers are 1-3 with losses of 24, 2, and 15, and a win by 9. This comes out to an average point differential of -8 points per game. In the 2 games in which Embiid played and Simmons did not, the Sixers are 0-2 with losses of 16 and 18. This makes out to an average point differential of -17 points per game.

In the most recent game with Embiid in and Simmons out, the sixers lost to the Trail Blazers by the score of 121-105. In this game, they shot just 7-27 from 3-point range. This included 0 three pointers in the entirety of the first half. Ben SImmons leads the NBA in assists on 3 point shots and this is a big aspect of his game that they missed.

Once Simmons is traded, they will no longer have his abilities and skill set to help the team win. Again, this team is 12-0 with the starting lineup. There is absolutely no reason the Sixers should want to mess this part of the team up at all. Any team going this strong together deserves to stay together because they all bring something to the table that helps this team win.

All of these components are just as important as another so removing one of the players and their skill set would be dumb, especially when no one has stopped them yet.

Overall, Simmons may not be the best scorer, but the other aspects of the game he brings like his rebounding and defense are vital to the team’s success and the Sixers would be foolish to trade him.

All stats and records as of February 5th, 2021.