Simmons Makes Sense in Minnesota


Ben Simmons is an enigma.

On one hand, the Philadelphia 76ers’ 24-year-old All-NBA guard fills up the stat sheet up on a nightly basis.

On the other, he’s terrified to shoot the basketball.

The kid has boatloads of talent and untapped potential, but his fit next to the other franchise cornerstone, Joel Embiid, has often been questioned. The 76ers’ disappointing exit in this year’s playoffs certainly add to the uncertainty surrounding Simmons’ future in Philadelphia.

It is vitally important to take a step back from recency bias and dive into Simmons as a player. Determining his strengths and weaknesses can help us justify what kind of situation he would thrive under.

What We Know

Simmons is a 6’10 wizard with the basketball. He has some of the best vision in the game. His strong handle has allowed him to set up his teammates with regularity. A fluid athlete who is at his best in transition, Simmons has flourished offensively when attacking downhill and making plays.

Unfortunately for Simmons, he has one glaring weaknesses that has derailed his development. His inability to shoot has clearly affected his confidence.

His role has quickly spiraled in a negative trajectory. Joel Embiid has become the clear franchise cornerstone and Simmons became the wretched sidekick. You see so many players in situations that don’t suit their game and this is another example of getting caught in the wash.

Ben Simmons’ time in Philadelphia has inevitably come to an end. 

The Fit

Simmons’ fit in Minnesota is what makes this such an intriguing option.

On paper, it seems like a match made in heaven for his unique skillset. The Wolves boast the best shooting big man in the NBA. This frees up the paint and would allow Simmons to attack with regularity. The rest of the starting five all compliment him well with their ability to stretch the floor.

With Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell in the fold, Simmons shouldn’t need to feel the pressure of taking a large offensive role. After being highly scrutinized by the entire population of Philadelphia, a move to Minneapolis might not sound so bad after all. He would simply be asked to do what he does best: facilitate and defend.

Stock Report

As much as Simmons’ stock has dropped, Philadelphia isn’t just going to give him away. The Sixers’ front office will only trade Simmons if they feel they can improve immediately. Their championship window is now. After finishing first in the Eastern Conference this past regular season, there is no rebuild. The goal is to restock and take home the Larry O’Brien trophy.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have made it pretty clear they want to continue building upon their current foundation while adding assets in the process. Gersson Rosas has made plenty of moves reshaping the roster during his tenure with the club, but has yet to really make a significant splash. The Andrew Wiggins-D’Angelo Russell trade was a necessary step in the right direction.

The Wolves still seem one big move away. Acquiring Ben Simmons would shake up the Western Conference.

The Cost

KAT and Edwards are off-limits. Disregard any fake rumor you hear spewing this nonsense. Not happening.

DLo on the other hand, may have been an interesting acquisition for Philly. They would presumably have a need at point guard, but he may be tough to pry away from the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”.

Without Russell included, Rosas still has to concoct something tantalizing enough for Philly to bite. If I’m Daryl Morey, (President of Basketball Operations for the 76ers) the first name I’m inquiring about is Jaden McDaniels. A year ago, if Minnesota knew they could potentially acquire Ben Simmons, and McDaniels was the deciding factor, we would all be laughing hysterically. That goes to show how much McDaniels has blossomed into a premiere role player. Will Rosas feel comfortable parting with the forward?

It is pretty easy to assume the Malik Beasley and a combination of first-round draft picks/pick swaps will be included. Minnesota will have to sweeten the pot, though. A combination of Naz Reid, Leandro Bolmaro, Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver will likely have to be included as well. If Rosas refuses to include McDaniels, things likely get more complicated.

The more probable result includes a third team to help facilitate the trade. Philadelphia may want more than what’s on the table from Minnesota. A team such as Toronto or Washington could choose to hop in the mix by shipping off their stars and beginning their rebuilds.

Overall, Ben Simmons would be a tremendous fit for this Timberwolves team and is exactly the type of player that could elevate this group to new heights. Gersson Rosas: if you are listening, now is the time to make a splash.

Follow us on Twitter @TWolvesLead for the latest Timberwolves news and insight. 

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About Reid Roelofs

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