With all the hippidy-hoopla nonsense surrounding Ben Simmons, he is still a phenomenal basketball player. Simmons stands a goliath 6-foot-11, has a high IQ and plays defense like a stone cold-baller. If the Philadelphia 76ers are willing to trade the star, he could prove the piece that lifts a team to an NBA Championship type level. Here are three reasons why the Portland Trail Blazers should consider trading for Ben Simmons.
The Blazers have long needed a defensive presence on the wing; there are few better options than him. This season he was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team. His height, lateral quickness, and length give him the tools to annoy point guards consistently.
This is the exact skill set Rip City has been missing for quite some time. CJ McCollum has never proven to be an elite defender in the NBA, and that’s unlikely ever to change. Now McCollum’s Jimmer-jammer stepback in your face is absolutely mesmerizing. But Portland fans would likely prefer NBA Finals appearances to first-round eliminations against backup point guards.
This issue has been plaguing the Blazers for years, and it should have been apparent after the 2018 Western Conference First Round sweep at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans. If you need a refresher, this is when Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo showed the impact of what two elite defensive guards can do, and we’ll leave it at that.
But the Trail Blazers only need one, and Simmons is available. At the same time, his 34.2 free throw percentage proved to be the worst in NBA Playoff history.
Oh my gosh, literally in history… That’s stanky.
His defense is the exact thing needed to inject life into a Portland franchise that could probably benefit from some major change.
If anything, it’s worth a shot.
First off, Lillard is 76 multiplied by 94 times better than Simmons at the current moment.
But if Dame really wants out, he wants out, and it’ll likely prove a short window in regards to acquiring Simmons. This is a moment where the Blazers’ higher-ups really need to display a high level of emotional intelligence as to where team chemistry currently stands and act accordingly.
If D-Lil is really going to leave, regardless of reason, the Trail Blazers roster immediately lacks star power. This is a void that Simmons could fill.
And from a stylistic standpoint, his pass-first mentality should mesh well with the rest of Portland’s roster. Obviously, Lillard is the preferred option, but Simmons would prove a heck of a consolation prize in a worst-case scenario.
He’s not Lillard, and their respective stat lines make it clear. This season Dame averaged 28.8 PTS, 7.5 AST, and 2.4 REB, while Ben averaged 14.3 PTS, 6.9 AST, and 7.2 REB (Per Game).
Now let us be clear, nothing has happened yet, and we would all love to see D-Lil rocking that “Chocolate City Edition Oregon Jersey” next season, but all precautions do need to be taken to uphold Portland’s long standing hoops tradition.
It’s all the Pacific Northwest has got left, yadadamean?
Portland’s Fan Base
Trail Blazers fans are thunderous, loyal, and kind. Wait, what was that last word? Kind!
Whether Simmons wants to admit it or not, his free throw shooting likely stems from a confidence issue, which probably developed from some level of deeper insecurity. There are few other explanations to justify a 27.1 percent drop in free throw percentage from the regular season to playoffs.
And there’s probably no worse place to play for a player with confidence issues than Philadelphia. 76ers fans can prove disorderly, brutal, and fantastic all-in-one. They are some of the best fans in the NBA, but if you suck, they will let you know about it, they’ll be up in your ear. Some players thrive under this pressure while others crumble.
For Simmons, Philly may not be the best fit. But what about Portland?
The Blazers fan base is probably one of the best in the NBA, and they do it with class. In a 2019 article, Sportscasting.com has Rip City’s faithful ranked No.2 on their list of “Best and Worst Fan Bases in the NBA.”
They also had the following words to say. “The fans of Portland are good sports.”
They later added, “These fans have a reputation for being some of the best in basketball.”
The Rose City faithful would likely give Simmons a real shot compared to other fan bases around the league. And if he won an NBA Championship, he’d likely be the most revered athlete in Portland history.
He may be today’s antelope of NBA inside jokes. But a two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team, three-time All-Star, and high IQ point guard is nothing to mess with.
O ya, he’s also 6-foot-11.