Ben Simmons

Where in the world is Ben Simmons?

The player LeBron James dubbed a “young king” is acting like a royal brat.

The 2021 NBA Playoffs ended less than miraculously for the Philadelphia 76ers. Following an unexpected second round exit, all eyes were on two-time NBA All-Star Ben Simmons. Expectations have been high for the 2018 Rookie of the Year and fans have been patiently waiting to see him flourish. 

Instead of stepping up to the plate when he was needed the most, Simmons could not hit key shots, later choosing to avoid shooting altogether. 

Until a resolution with the team was achieved earlier this week, Ben Simmons never wants to step on the court as a Philadelphia 76er ever again. This could be due to several factors. Has the well run dry for his chemistry with the team, or is he simply too embarrassed to return to the City of Brotherly Love after squandering their long-awaited return to the Eastern Conference Finals?

The 2021 NBA Playoffs ended less than miraculously for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Where should he go?

There have been many trades speculated for the young point guard, including Minnesota, Golden State and Portland.

San Antonio has been one of the less-discussed cities with the most trading potential. Coach Gregg Popovich is not getting any younger. During his 25 seasons with the Spurs, the team has only missed the playoffs three times. Two of those were the past two seasons.

Simmons is the type of player who could reinvigorate an ageing Popovich and fill many of the gaps in San Antonio’s roster and Pops is the type of coach who could help Simmons get to where he needs to be. 

Over the summer, former Spurs player Bruce Bowen said that the team “would trade anyone on the Spurs roster for Ben Simmons.” San Antonio has tons of young players and draft picks, so they should not think twice before trading away these assets. In return, Philadelphia could foster more young talent, or trade away these pieces for a “win-now” player who could help Joel Embiid and company make a stronger push towards a championship.

Is Simmons worth the risk?

Ben Simmons on love/hate relationships.

Is Ben Simmons really worth the gamble? His recent childish behaviour, including refusing to meet with 76ers teammates who were hoping to reconcile, displays a lack of cooperation. Despite an inconsistent playing style, the Aussie-born baller continues to put himself before the common good.

While the idea of a great coach working to build Simmons’ potential is indeed enticing, the romanticization falls flat when his antics are on full display. Working with a player who could be one of the next greats may be too tough a gamble if he is also a locker room pariah. Just look at Kyrie Irving’s short tenure with the Boston Celtics.

The player who LeBron James dubbed a “young king” is instead acting like a royal brat. In order to overcome this now-daunting adversity, he must look inward to improve on both his shooting and communicative abilities.

This column originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of Cult MTL. 

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