Ben Simmons, the number one overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, played four full seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets. His tenure with Philadelphia had its ups and downs. He was a three-time NBA All-Star with the Sixers, but his relationship with the organization turned rotten in his later years with the team. After several meltdowns in big-time games, his relationship with the fans also soured.
: Ben Simmons to 76ers Fans: ‘If You’re Going to Boo, Stay on That Side’ pic.twitter.com/5sv4zSkPHk
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Some people wonder what things would have been like if Simmons stayed in Philadelphia. Nobody will ever know the answer, but a Simmons return to Philadelphia is not impossible. Would a reunion be able to work?
Could a Ben Simmons-76ers Reunion Ever Work?
Why It Could
Many people speculated that Simmons and the 76ers would always have a stick out for each other after the mess that was his trade request. Some people in Philly still may not be fond of Simmons, but the feeling is not mutual. In a late August interview, the current Brooklyn Net expressed his love for his first NBA team.
“People always ask me like, ‘If you were to get traded again where you want it to be?’ I always say, ‘Just Philly. Philly is a second home to me.’ And in time, you learn and grow as people. I don’t really have anything bad to say about Philly. It was a crazy situation at the end, but it is what it is.”
If the organization were to embrace Simmons and welcome him back, everything else on the basketball court could shape itself out. It would certainly take some time for fans to get used to, but many would likely get behind this redemption story.
In terms of his fit on the court, Simmons would likely have to accept a role as a reserve player. He could give the team quality defense and playmaking in that role.
Over 42 games with the Nets in 2022-23, Simmons registered a 110.2 defensive efficiency rating – the best of his career. He would immediately be the Sixers’ best backcourt defender. Additionally, he would also be valued as a playmaker on offense. Adding a playmaker like Simmons to the mix would allow guys like Tyrese Maxey and De’Anthony Melton to play in their natural positions as off-ball scorers.
Why It Could Not
If Simmons were to get hurt or make just one game-altering mistake, he would most likely be hit with a wave of criticism from the fans and media. This would be a recipe for disaster for his confidence. As he has already shown, he needs high confidence levels to play at a respectable level.
Furthermore, Philadelphia would have to trade assets to get Simmons. The price may be too steep for a team that has already gambled once on him.
Lastly, his play style may disrupt some of the positive things that Philadelphia does on offense. The 76ers are a top-ten NBA team in three-point shooting this season. Simmons is not a shooting threat at all, so adding him to the fold would make it easier for opposing teams to focus on closing out the 76ers’ more reliable shooters. In addition, Joel Embiid and Simmons have already shown that being on the court together hurts the team’s ability to space the floor.
The Verdict on a Ben Simmons-76ers Reunion
Overall, there is no clear answer to this debate. In a perfect world, a Simmons-Sixers reunion would resemble a fairytale story. Conversely, trading valuable assets for Simmons could backfire tremendously on the Sixers. The risk greatly outweighs the reward in this scenario for it ever to be seriously considered by Philadelphia’s front office.
In theory, a reunion is possible; however, the things that would prevent it from ever working are more probable to come into play than everything coming together in a utopian universe.