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What’s Ben Simmons's commerce worth? Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the NBA's final wild card

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Ben Simmons continues to dominate the offseason information cycle.

In line with Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Simmons knowledgeable the franchise that he “now not desires to stay a Sixer.” It is the most recent escalation in a gentle stream of swirling commerce rumors and experiences courting again to Philadelphia’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks within the second rond of the playoffs.

Up till now, the 76ers have been looking for a king’s ransom. In line with David Aldridge of The Athletic, they’re looking for a minimal of 4 future first-round picks and an All-Star-level participant in “most (however not all) eventualities” for him.

Did Simmons simply value the Sixers leverage? Solely time will inform. In spite of everything, it is already tough to gauge the worth of somebody who on his greatest night time appears like probably the most overwhelming matchup nightmare for opposing groups and on his worst… properly… 

There may be no escaping the truth that Simmons struggled mightily in that collection towards the Hawks — Sport 7 was notably tough for him, as he was restricted to 5 factors — however he is nonetheless a 25-year-old who’s averaging 15.9 factors, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals per sport by 4 seasons of his profession and is underneath contract till 2024-25. He is already earned three All-Star picks, along with two All-Defensive First Workforce picks.

Assessing Simmons and his final worth requires a full examination. Let’s put his sport underneath a microscope to get a greater sense of what he may carry to a workforce.

Choosing up the tempo

Simmons places a ton of strain on groups within the open courtroom.

In line with NBA.com, Simmons created greater than 1 / 4 (28.3 %) of his offence in transition final season, making for one of many highest charges within the league. A excessive turnover fee (21.2 %) performed a task in him rating in solely the twenty seventh percentile with a mean of 1.00 factors per transition possession, however he was an environment friendly finisher (61.6 % taking pictures) on these performs.

Ben Simmons’ scoring tendencies (2020-21)
Play Frequency Factors Per Possession Percentile
Transition 28.3% 1.00 27.0
Decide-and-roll ball handler 16.9% 0.73 23.6
Lower 12.2% 1.10 20.3
Publish-up 11.4% 0.96 55.0
Isolation 6.2% 1.00 75.3
Decide-and-roll roll man 2.6% 0.87 14.7

What makes Simmons distinctive is that he has the dimensions of a ahead however the expertise of a guard. Standing at 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot wingspan, he’s a menace to grab-and-go. He is too fast for many bigs to maintain up with following a missed shot and too large for many guards to deal with when he will get into the paint.

As soon as he or another person on his workforce secures the rebound, it is off to the races.

Simmons additionally picks up steals and deflections in bunches. (Extra on that in a bit). He punishes groups for being careless with the ball, turning turnovers into simple offence.

Simmons generates a variety of offence for his teammates as properly in transition. He rewards gamers for working the ground with him and does a very good job of kicking it out to 3-point shooters when the defence collapses on him.

During the last two seasons, Simmons has assisted on a complete of 422 3-pointers. Per PBP Stats, solely Damian Lillard (452), Russell Westbrook (453) and Luka Doncic (485) have created extra.

It is the halfcourt the place Simmons runs into some points.

The large drawback, after all, is that Simmons has but to develop a soar shot. Generally, shot charts may be deceptive. This isn’t a kind of instances.

(NBA.com)
https://photographs.daznservices.com/di/library/NBA_Global_CMS_image_storage/41/45/ben-simmons-shot-chart-for-2020-21-nba-season_65dfu8gbwgao19ika4dw7owjk.png?t=914056179&w=500&high quality=80

Of the 325 area objectives he made final season, 315 got here within the paint. He was 7-for-21 (33.3 %) from midrange and 3-for-10 (30.0 %) from 3-point vary. He posted comparable numbers in the primary three seasons of his profession.

If defenders press up on Simmons, he can blow by them and end robust on the rim.

But when they again means off of him, it may possibly muck up spacing for everybody else.

These limitations influence Simmons probably the most on the finish of video games. He is seen his utilization fee within the clutch plummet in every of the final three seasons as a result of he tends to gravitate in the direction of the dunker spot when the sport slows down. It would not assist that Joel Embiid, whose utilization fee has skyrocketed within the clutch within the final three seasons, is a dominant paint scorer himself. The 2 of them are sometimes combating over the identical actual property.

Simmons growing into a greater shooter is the apparent resolution — it might be far more tough for defenders to assist off of him if he did — however it might be attention-grabbing to see how he’d look on a workforce the place he is the one non-shooter and is used extra as an enormous within the halfcourt. Together with his dimension, pace, athleticism and imaginative and prescient, he is somebody who ought to thrive as a screen-setter in pick-and-rolls and a cutter. He is able to attacking mismatches as properly, each out on the perimeter and within the put up.

Simmons has proven flashes of all of that in Philadelphia, nevertheless it appears like there’s nonetheless far more to be unlocked.

A great defender for right now’s NBA

It is the opposite finish of the courtroom the place Simmons is at his greatest.

At the start, Simmons is an extremely disruptive defender. His 1.6 steals per sport final season tied him with a bunch of gamers for fifth-most within the league. He additionally averaged 3.5 deflections per sport, tying him with T.J. McConnell and Jimmy Butler for third-most.

Simmons is a large presence on the perimeter who not solely makes use of his dimension and size to harass ball handlers…

…however wreak havoc as a free security.

Secondly, Simmons is a multi-positional defender. In line with The BBall Index, he was the fifth-most versatile defender within the league final season, the results of him spending an nearly equal period of time guarding level guards, taking pictures guards, small forwards and energy forwards. It is almost inconceivable to overestimate the worth of that skillset in a league that calls for the power to change throughout two and even three positions.

Moreover, Simmons often took on the hardest matchup. He posted a matchup issue score of 97.7 in 2020-21, which was the best on the 76ers and ranked him twenty fifth general within the league.

His pace reveals in matchups with shifty guards like Trae Younger and Donovan Mitchell.

His dimension, in the meantime, helps him defend the likes of Luka Doncic and LeBron James.

Fairly merely, there aren’t many gamers who can guard as many positions and tackle the defensive assignments that Simmons can. He’s constructed for right now’s perimeter-oriented NBA.

Simmons has already earned two All-Defensive First Workforce picks in his younger profession. Whereas he completed second in Defensive Participant of the 12 months voting final season, some take into account him to be the most effective defender within the league due to how versatile he’s.

“I do know Gobert is Gobert and he blocks a variety of photographs and does all the things, however Simmons is so disruptive,” an nameless coach informed The Athletic. “You’ll be able to’t go fallacious with both man, however the versatility with Simmons is what put him excessive for me.”

The one actual query with Simmons on the defensive finish is that if he can anchor a defence as a small ball 5. (It is not one thing we have seen a lot from him but, largely as a result of he is been teammates with probably the greatest facilities within the league in Embiid). The majority of his blocks to date in his profession have come away from the rim and the numbers do not level in the direction of him being a lot of a deterrent across the basket. There isn’t any doubt that he’d thrive in a switch-everything system, however the jury continues to be out on whether or not or not Simmons may unlock a small ball lineup à la Draymond Inexperienced.

Outlook

There isn’t any denying how proficient Simmons is. He has some obtrusive weaknesses in his sport, however he is a pressure in transition, is among the league’s higher passers and is the kind of defender each workforce is on the lookout for in right now’s NBA. Together with his versatility on each ends, it isn’t arduous to think about him flourishing in the suitable surroundings. 

Whether or not Simmons returns to the 76ers or is carrying a brand new uniform subsequent season, there are a few issues that will go a good distance for his long-term improvement.

The primary? Change into a extra prepared midrange shooter.

A lot of the eye has been on his have to develop a 3-point shot, however trying to shoot extra from midrange would assist Simmons hold defenses sincere. It is not one thing we noticed a lot from him final season, however he confirmed somewhat extra willingness to pull-up from midrange in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The second? Enhance as a free throw shooter.

By means of 4 seasons, Simmons has related on 59.7 % of his free throw makes an attempt within the common season and 52.0 % within the playoffs. Together with his skill to downhill, he is somebody who ought to stay on the free throw line, and turning into a extra constant free throw shooter may very well be the important thing to him turning into a extra aggressive driver.

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