Despite a broken jump shot (if it even worked to begin with) and a VERY public case of the yips, the Sixers don’t appear to be selling low on Ben Simmons. Hours after news of Cleveland balking at Philadelphia’s sky-high asking price for Simmons (President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey had been seeking “every young player” on the Cavs’ roster along with multiple first-round picks), it was Golden State’s turn to swipe left, with the Warriors declining an obscene offer that would have netted the 76ers second-year center James Wiseman, former first overall pick Andrew Wiggins and four first-round picks including two lottery selections (seventh and 14th overall) in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.
Along with the Cavs and Warriors, the Sixers have also touched base with Toronto, Sacramento and Indiana about Simmons, a three-time Eastern Conference All-Star and former Rookie of the Year. Drafted with the first pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, Simmons finished runner-up to Utah center Rudy Gobert in Defensive Player of the Year voting this past season. The LSU alum faced intense scrutiny for his poor performance in this year’s playoffs, all but disappearing in the Sixers’ second-round loss to Atlanta, much to the dismay of Philadelphia’s famously demanding fan base.
Plagued by his anemic shooting, particularly at the free-throw line (34.2 percent during the playoffs), a change of scenery might be what the 6’11” point guard needs to restore his broken confidence. However, Morey has made clear that Simmons, despite a flawed offensive game and lingering questions about his ability to perform under pressure in wake of a disastrous postseason, won’t be going for pennies on the dollar. Simmons, who turned 25 earlier this month, is still relatively young with more than enough length and athleticism to continue playing at an All-Star level, even if he never develops as a shooter.
While it never hurts to kick the tires on a player of Simmons’ elite caliber, the Australian would have been an odd fit for the Warriors considering they already have Draymond Green, a rugged and versatile defender who, like Simmons, can’t shoot a lick (career 8.8 points per game on 43.6-percent shooting including 31.6 percent from long range). The Warriors remain open for business, dangling their seventh and 14th overall picks as trade ammunition in pursuit of a proven talent to pair with reigning NBA scoring champ Steph Curry. But until the Sixers present a more realistic offer, it appears that player won’t be Simmons.