James Harden and Ben Simmons are two of the best players in the NBA. Both players are All-Stars in their respective conference and franchise cornerstones every team in the NBA would love to have.
The Houston Rockets, who are dealing with Harden’s trade request, would like to get a player of Simmons’ caliber in return for The Beard. The Philadelphia 76ers‘ point-forward is an elite two-way player who is only going to get better with age.
While it’s still unclear when James Harden is going to get traded by the Rockets, Ben Simmons could be dealt for the former MVP soon.
Ben Simmons is a stud despite not having a jump shot
Ben Simmons has career averages of 16.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per game with the Sixers. He was the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year and led the NBA in steals per contest in 2019-20. Many believe Simmons, and not Kawhi Leonard or LeBron James, is the best perimeter defender in the NBA.
Despite not having a jump shot in his game, Simmons is a force on offense due to his ability to get to the rim at will and finish in traffic. The lefty is also a special passer at 6-foot-10. Simmons can get a rebound on one end, weave in and out of traffic on the fastbreak and find open teammates on the wing. Not many players can do that.
Since Simmons doesn’t have an outside game, though, many around the NBA believe the Sixers need to split up the 24-year-old and Joel Embiid, who doesn’t have room to operate in the post since opposing teams pack the paint against the Sixers due to Simmons’ inability to shoot. With that being said, Harden would be the ideal partner in crime for Embiid since the three-time scoring champion can score from anywhere on the court.
If everything falls into place, James Harden could be traded for Ben Simmons in the near future.
Sixers have made Ben Simmons available in some packages for James Harden
The Sixers are one of the teams James Harden is interested in getting traded to. The Rockets want an All-Star player in return for Harden and Ben Simmons fits that bill.
Since Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey used to run the Rockets and has a strong relationship with Harden, there could be a scenario where Houston and Philadelphia agree to a trade involving Harden and Simmons, who both happen to be left-handed players. Harden and Joel Embiid would be a lethal dynamic duo from the post and perimeter, while Simmons would get his own team to run in Houston, although his fit with John Wall would be rather poor.
James Harden averaged 34.3 points per game last season for the Rockets while shooting 35.5% from beyond the arc. He led the NBA in scoring for the third consecutive season, but the Rockets flamed out in the 2020 playoffs and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round in five games.
Ben Simmons, meanwhile, put up 16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 8.0 assists a night in 2019-20. However, he didn’t play in the 2020 postseason due to a knee injury he suffered that required surgery. Without Simmons, the Sixers got swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round.
Daryl Morey denies Sixers have made Simmons available for Harden
As expected, Daryl Morey has denied that the Sixers have made Ben Simmons available for James Harden. That’s most likely a PR move, though. Morey is one of the most aggressive basketball execs in NBA history and we already know how much he loves Harden.
Simmons is the best player the Rockets can get in return for Harden, who would make the Sixers legitimate title contenders due to his insane scoring and playmaking ability. While Philly would lose some of its defensive tenacity since Simmons is a pest on that end of the floor and Harden has never been known to be a good defender, the team’s offense would be explosive with Harden and Embiid leading the charge.
It’s going to be fascinating to see if the Sixers acquire James Harden from the Rockets for Ben Simmons. Harden still wants to be traded by Houston despite the franchise getting John Wall from the Washington Wizards, Christian Wood from the Detroit Pistons, and DeMarcus Cousins in free agency.
Harden, despite having his eyes on the Brooklyn Nets, seems to be excited about the possibility of joining forces with the Sixers.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.