Ben Simmons to the Indiana Pacers? Oh, hell no!
These rumors must have been planted by Simmons’ agent to try to create a market out of this air for the disgruntled Philadelphia 76er, right? There is no way the Pacers do something this silly. Kevin Pritchard is a lot of things as a team president, but silly is not among them.
Here are five great reasons why trading for Simmons would be the height of lunacy (if you need more than these five, I have plenty more. Just email me for the complete list, which is longer than Martin Luther’s 95 Theses against the Catholic Church):
- Simmons can’t shoot, and he won’t shoot! In four seasons, Simmons has attempted a grand total of 34 three-point shots, of which he made five. FIVE! From the foul line, he is also inept, making less than 60% of his free throws. The difference between Simmons hitting 59.7% and 80% – the kind of average you want in a guy playing the point – is almost precisely one point per game over his career.
- Over his four seasons, Simmons has not progressed. His per game and per 36 minutes averages have dipped in many instances and stayed static in others. Simmons is what he is, and shows little likelihood of becoming a true franchise level player.
- Simmons is disgruntled, and that tends to travel with a player wherever he goes. If he is going to sit rather than join his teammates to prepare for the 2021-2022 season, what might set him off here to do the same thing? After both Paul George and Victor Oladipo asked to be dealt to a sanctuary far from Indy, Pritchard is wary of investing in a petulant guy who is not fully “gruntled.”
- The price would be steep. Simmons costs an average of $35.5M per year, and because of the salary cap, the Pacers would have to cobble together parts equalling roughly $27M to make the trade compliant with NBA rules. It would likely be more than that to keep the Pacers under the salary cap threshold, which they have always been and will always be.
It’s not that Simmons is a bad player. In four seasons, he’s been an all-star three times, and a first team All Defense member twice. If Simmons could shoot, he would be one of the best five players in the NBA. But he is not.
It’s very likely these rumors of Simmons to the Pacers are nothing more than ridiculous bleating proffered by the Simmons camp to gin up a little interest. They sure don’t want their meal ticket to forfeit giant chunks of money for following through on his threat to never play for the 76ers again.
But on the off chance this smoke isn’t coming from arson within the Simmons cabal of advisors, for the love of James Naismith, Pritchard must not pull the trigger on a deal to bring a fatally flawed player to a city where shooters are king.
Indiana fans are smart – they have heard coaches say the same thing since they were born – “If you can’t shoot, you can’t play.” Ben Simmons can’t, so he shouldn’t. At least not in Indiana!