The Philadelphia 76ers are entering the offseason after finishing well short of competing for an NBA title. The immediate fallout has quickly seen the blame shift over to Ben Simmons. As trade rumors begin to emerge, the Golden State Warriors have already taken themselves out of the mix.
Ben Simmons’ offensive shortcomings contribute to the 76ers’ playoff exit
The 76ers are heading toward another offseason filled with disappointment after an early playoff departure.
Philadelphia captured the top playoff seed in the Eastern Conference but couldn’t translate it into a deep playoff run. Instead, the team’s shortcomings have seen blame shift toward Simmons’ offensive issues. The 25-year-old’s scoring struggles in the second-round series against the Atlanta Hawks became a critical problem.
He was a complete non-factor in the fourth quarter throughout the series. He scored just six points while taking only three shots total in that period in all seven games combined. It included him not recording a single attempt in the fourth quarter five times, with that occurring in each of the final four games of the series.
All this quickly led to trade chatter sprouting, with one NBA team already taking their name out of the hat.
Ben Simmons can eliminate any chance the Warriors pursue him
Since the 76ers‘ premature playoff exit, the focus has shifted toward Simmons’ long-term future.
The 25-year-old has become the center of potential trade talks as he sits without any clarity concerning his standing in Philadelphia. With that conversation floating around, Marcus Thompson III of The Athletic is reporting the Warriors are not exactly gearing up for a pursuit of Simmons.
“Talking to a few people in the organization, the Warriors are not licking their chops to get their hands on Simmons,” Thompson said. “The team has its eyes on better fits, perhaps even better players, and they’d likely exhaust those first. And if you believe Joe Lacob on The TK Show, they aren’t exactly thirsting to add a star. (Obviously, Lacob said exactly what he’s supposed to say.)”
The All-Star point guard may hold a decreased value due to his playoff struggles, but the Warriors don’t have any strong desire to acquire him. Simmons doesn’t exactly fit the mold of what Golden State needs as his lack of shooting ability conflicts with the playing style that has excelled in Steve Kerr’s system for years.
He would undoubtedly become a huge asset with his passing and defense. Still, the lack of individual offensive prowess would make him a liability next to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. It also doesn’t help that his lucrative contract would further restrict the Warriors from filling out the rest of the roster.
In other words, several factors are working against the scenario playing out favorably for Golden State.
Philadelphia must make a tough decision
Beyond the Warriors removing themselves from the picture, the 76ers hold a difficult decision ahead.
The franchise must determine if Simmons is a star talent that can lead them to an NBA title. Through his first four seasons, he’s established himself as one of the game’s top young players behind his passing and defensive capabilities.
However, Philadelphia hasn’t seen any substantial growth from Simmons in his shooting ability, and now his confidence is shot. The 25-year-old holds more than enough motivation to improve his outside shooting, but there may be a cut-off point.
The 76ers are more than confident that Joel Embiid is an elite talent toward a championship contender. At the same time, it’s also uncertain whether Simmons will ever become the complimentary second star that can lift the franchise forward.
Simmons is about to enter the second year of his five-year, $177.2 million deal that runs through the 2024-25 campaign. Ultimately, the 76ers hold all the cards and must decide whether keeping him aboard is best for the team’s long-term future.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.