Despite the Sixers supposedly having a “plan” in place for Ben Simmons, it’s hard to envision the former No. 1 pick, who all but disappeared during the team’s second-round loss to Atlanta, returning to Philadelphia next season, particularly in the wake of pointed remarks by both Doc Rivers and Joel Embiid. Multiple suitors have already reached out to gauge the All-Star guard's availability including the Indiana Pacers, who, according to Jason Dumas of San Francisco’s KRON4 News (he also contributes to Bleacher Report and KGMZ), offered Malcolm Brogdon and a first-round pick for Simmons, but the Sixers said no.
Brogdon is certainly a more adept scorer (he averaged a career-high 21.2 points per game this past season) and is also regarded as a plus defender, though he obviously isn’t as imposing physically, standing six inches shorter than Simmons (6’5” vs. 6’11”). An overachiever who has greatly exceeded expectations since arriving as the 35th pick of the 2016 draft, Brogdon boasts career averages of 15.1 points, 4.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds over 297 NBA appearances (that includes 222 starts) for Milwaukee and Indiana. The Virginia alum is also a former Rookie of the Year recipient and one of just nine players in league history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the free-throw line over an entire season. However, he’s never been named to an All-Star team and turns 29 later this year.
Clearly, the Sixers are holding out for a bigger name with disgruntled Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard reportedly among their top priorities. The 76ers aren’t exactly selling high on Simmons, an anemic shooter who leaked confidence during the playoffs, particularly at the free-throw line, where he shot a ghastly 34.2 percent. There’s plenty to like about Simmons’ profile—he’s an elite defender with rare athleticism for his size. Whether Simmons maxes out as a defensive juggernaut in the mold of Draymond Green or graduates to something more (which would likely require a jump shot) remains to be seen, though it’s still early enough in the 24-year-old’s development for a team, preferably one with a patient coaching staff, to salvage his career.
It’s doubtful the Sixers revisit trade talks with Indiana unless the Pacers are willing to offer much more than Brodgon and a first-rounder. Still, the wheels appear to be turning in Philadelphia with Simmons’ chances of remaining a Sixer beyond this season dwindling by the day.
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