The Ben Simmons mess could finally end if the Celtics have an open mind. I can’t blame them if they hesitate though… Simmons reluctantly joined the Sixers’ training sessions before the season started and quickly refused to do a defensive drill, clashing with head coach Doc Rivers. This led to a suspension from the season opener against the Pelicans and a fine and then he said that he’s “not mentally ready to play.” Simmons told the staff that he has “back tightness” and he’s been sitting out since.
Simmons’ play had a lot do with the Sixers’ early exit in last season’s playoffs. He missed 48 free-throws in 12 playoff games last season. Simmons was 25-for-73 from the free-throw line (34.2 percent) and that 34.2 percent free-throw percentage is the worst in NBA Playoffs history (with a minimum of 70 attempts).
This was year one of a five-year, $177 million contract for Simmons and he had just five points and only attempted four shots in Game 7 against the Hawks. Not to mention that he passed up a wide open dunk late in the fourth quarter.
Ben Simmons in the 4th quarter in the second round series against the Hawks:
Game 1: 2-2 FG
Game 2: 0-0 FG
Game 3: 1-1 FG
Game 4: 0-0 FG
Game 5: 0-0 FG
Game 6: 0-0 FG
Game 7: 0-0 FG
Ben Simmons plus pieces and picks for Jaylen Brown is a good trade for both teams/players:
– The Celtics need a franchise point guard
– The Celtics need a defensive boost
– Jayson Tatum is their go to guy and face and always will be
– Ben Simmons wants to be a point guard. In Boston he can be.
– Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum fit well and for 10 years.
– The Sixers need a wing scorer/closer to pair with Joel Embiid.
– Jaylen Brown can average over 25 points as a lead wing and be the go to guy.
– Both teams need a shot in the arm or risk being overtaken by other franchises.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown sounds amazing on paper but they don’t maximize each other. The Celtics need to build an identity around Jayson Tatum’s scoring. Ben Simmons is not a bucket getter but he can be valuable in the right setting. The Sixers need a bucket getting wing so it makes sense.
As of December 11, Boston is 10th in the East at 13-14 and they haven’t gotten better for years. They need to start over and stabilize a core and capture an actual identity and stick to it. Since 2017 they’ve had Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker all as All-Star point guards and let go of all of them. They’ve had Gordon Hayward, Evan Fournier, Terry Rozier, Ak Horford twice and gave up on their own system (Brad Stevens) and now have a new head coach in Ime Udoka who runs a completely different system. If the second round of the playoffs or the Eastern Conference Finals were the end game to all this, it shouldn’t have been this messy. Now the Celtics are getting worse. The Sixers are in a similar spot. It’s time to put their egos away and shake things up, get a deal done and save the season and morale of your stars.