The good, the bad and the Philly: Top 4 NBA teams for Ben Simmons
In case you haven’t heard, Ben Simmons is dominating college ball for LSU and flirting with triple-doubles and five-by-fives every time he steps on the court.
The young forward is averaging almost 20 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists in his seven games with LSU so far. Unless something crazy and unforeseen happens (touch wood), he is a lock to be the number 1 pick in the 2016 NBA draft and a surefire NBA prospect.
Let’s cast our eyes ahead and look at the top 4 contenders to land the services of the Aussie phenom, and what each situation might offer: both good and bad.
#1 Los Angeles Lakers
Bright side – Showtime
Simmons landing in LA would place him on the brightest basketball stage in the world. He’d soon be calling the likes of Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio ‘friends’ and could fill the enormous ‘favorite player’ hole left by Kobe Bryant’s departure.
Simmons would be joining a young core which includes his former high school teammate D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle. Together they could be a fun run-and-gun team that could produce fast breaks reminiscent of the Showtime glory days, with Simmons playing the lead role of Magic Johnson.
It will also allow Simmons to keep his purple and gold uniform streak going, from high school to the pros.
Downside – Front office & the coach
Ever since Dr. Jerry Buss passed away, the Lakers have been a disaster on and off the court. This is largely thanks to the decision-making baton passing to Buss’ son, and real life ‘Tommy Boy’, Jim Buss.
In that time the Lakers have plummeted down the standings, and it appears they have every terrible coach on speed dial, with professional arm-crosser Byron Scott keeping the coaching chair warm at the moment.
So its hard to believe that Scott will know how to effectively use Simmons’ unique skill-set or Buss can build a decent team around him.
#2 Philadelphia 76ers
Bright side – Playing point & the family connection
In Sam Hinkie’s never-ending search for assets over team fit, the 76ers are a little thin in the backcourt and heavy in the frontcourt. Consequently, playing in Philly will be the best chance we have to see Simmons as a starting point guard in the NBA. It could very well be his best position in the pros, and would be fascinating to watch. With an inch on Magic Johnson, he would probably be the tallest starting point guard in NBA history.
Joining the 76ers would continue the Brett Brown/Simmons family connection, with Brown coaching Ben’s father Dave for four years while an assistant coach for the Melbourne Tigers.
Downside – ‘The Process’ & spacing
There is still no light at the end of long dark tunnel that is “The Process”, which sees Hinkie continue to shuffle his assets around in a search for multiple superstars through the power of ping-pong balls.
Another issue Simmons will face is playing with range-limited big men in Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. Their inability to stretch the floor through shooting crowds the paint, which is Simmons' favourite scoring area.
#3 Boston Celtics
Bright side – Winning now & the coach
Boston provides Simmons with the best chance of winning and competing immediately. Unlike the other teams in line for Simmons’ services, who are there thanks to a poor winning record, Boston only has a shot at drafting Simmons thanks to the incompetence of Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King, who hands out unprotected picks like candy.
Simmons would be playing for a great young coach in Brad Stevens who, unlike Byron Scott, should be able to effectively maximize Simmons’ gifts.
Downside – Unbalanced roster
While GM Danny Ainge has been in asset collection mode he has put together a fairly unbalanced roster, with a glut of power forwards and undersized shooting guards.
Moves will have to be made to smooth the roster out and unlike the other three teams listed, Simmons won’t be teaming up with any current or potential A-grade talent straight off the bat.
#4 New Orleans Pelicans
Bright side – Dynamic duo & community bond
New Orleans will allow Simmons to team up with the best young player in the game in Anthony Davis. Together they could form an unstoppable one-two-punch which would be odds-on to be the best partnership in the game when they hit their prime. Simmons-to-Davis would send shivers around the league and should keep the Pelicans contending for the next decade.
An added bonus is remaining in the state where he played his college basketball, allowing Simmons to form a nice bond with the community in Louisiana.
Downside – Ball dominant teammates & defense
The Pelicans have a number of players who need the ball in their hands to do their best work. Simmons also needs the ball; considering his greatest weakness is his outside shooting, he won’t give a team much just spotting up on the wings.
New Orleans has the worst defense in the NBA, an area of the game rookies have not traditionally rectified, so Simmons' initiation into the NBA could sting a little.
Which team would be your preferred Simmons destination, and why? Share a comment and let us know.