11 Simmons trade ideas from Sixers fans after Game 5 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Sixers fans may have reached their breaking point with enigmatic All-Star Ben Simmons.
After 307 games across four seasons and four playoff runs, the reluctant star dropped a stinker Wednesday night in one of the worst losses in franchise history, and Simmons’ confounding game was a lightning rod among fans and talking heads alike afterwards.
He can’t shoot free throws. He can’t shoot jumpers. He disappears for huge stretches of action. He disappears in crunch time. His game doesn’t work in the playoffs. It’s the same stuff we’ve been turning over in our hands for years – and nothing is changing.
Which means it might be time to make the change happen yourself, and Sixers fans have come prepped with ideas.
After the loss, various portions of Sixers Twitter, Sixers Reddit, and sports talk radio turned into one big trade machine, trying to figure out how to get Simmons out of town (even though the series isn’t even over yet!) and fix the roster around a legit superstar in Joel Embiid.
I took a sweep around those corners of Sixers fandom and compiled an incomplete list of the guys Sixers fans want on their team in exchange for Simmons:
The Mavericks are reportedly having trouble keeping their young megastar happy. The organization just watched its general manager duck out. Doncic and Embiid would probably be the best two-man combination in the league starting next year.
Lillard has dug himself in as the superstar not willing to leave his original team, and hellbent on making it work there. I can’t imagine the Blazers will be able to uproot him. But if the Sixers could do it, it’s a no-brainer.
The Sixers tried to add Lowry at the trade deadline, and they’re reportedly still interested in pursuing him this offseason. He’s a perfect fit with Embiid and Tobias Harris, a point guard who gets his own shot and brings the energy every night.
McCollum isn’t a slam-dunk superstar, but he’s a pretty great No. 2 or No. 3 option in your offense, another guy who solves the Simmons conundrum of “what exactly does this guy do when he needs to get a bucket?”
LaVine’s reputation on defense might worry some, but the Sixers trading defensive stardom for bona fide offensive excellence when their defense is still anchored by Embiid is perfectly fine.
Murray is a fascinating case, because his game is what Simmons should be aiming for. He’s a pass-first point guard with length and defensive brilliance who doesn’t like shooting from range, but he still does it and is perfectly fine at it. He’s not Simmons… but with each passing year, it seems like he might be close enough.
The Sixers were reportedly interested in Brogdon during the Summer of Horf, and he’s a perfect fit for the current squad: a do-it-all guy on offense with defensive sturdiness. Plus you can reunite Brogdon with former Pacers assistant Dan Burke, who overlapped with Brogdon’s first year in Indy.
Zion is such a weird case. You definitely want him on your team, because he scores and is an efficiency wunderkind on offense, but he doesn’t seem interested in defense and has his own jump shot question marks. But he’s young and his ceiling is much higher than Simmons’, so…
Edwards came on really strong in the second half of his rookie year. His confidence in his offensive game is basically the anti-Simmons, and he has the energy level to eventually become a halfway solid defender. Plus he’s super young and cost-controlled for a few more years.
It’s becoming more and more clear that Simmons is not a superstar, and in the NBA you need superstars to win. Embiid is a superstar, but in 2021 having your only superstar be a post player isn’t a winning formula.
This idea was apparently floated on WIP’s Morning Show on Thursday, in the aftermath of that miserable loss. I’ve got to say, if we’re talking South Philly Barbacoa then I don’t hate it.
VERDICT: Maybe, if you’re hungry