We interrupt your Ben Simmons trade watch with... other Ben Simmons stuff. This time, we're looking at where ESPN's panel of NBA experts placed the polarizing point guard in their annual rankings. Last year, he came in at No. 16, but his pitiful playoff performance and tumultuous offseason were bound to affect his ranking negatively, and that was exactly the case.
His spot on the list just may not have been affected as much as you'd think.
Simmons did fall a dozen spots, which isn't an insignificant amount, but it keeps him within the top 30 and just outside the elite tier of the league's 25 best players. Here's what ESPN senior writer André Snellings had to say about why he fell and why he ranks at No. 28 this time around:
Simmons made major strides as a defender last season and turned in a two-way impact that measured 17th in the NBA, according to RPM. However, his limitations as a shooter and the resulting apparent lack of confidence came back to haunt him and the 76ers in the playoffs.