Before he entered the league in 2016, Philadelphia 76ers point forward Ben Simmons has been frequently compared to Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James. They weren’t just both No. 1 overall pick of their respective draft classes, but they also have a similar physique and skillset. However, as of now, he is still far from reaching the level of James, who is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
There are several factors that are preventing Simmons from turning himself into a legitimate NBA superstar. Aside from his inability to remain healthy, some people think that his current team is serving as a major blockage for Simmons from unlocking his hidden potential. According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, Simmons could take a leap to “full-pledged superstardom” if he demands a trade from the Sixers.
“He might have too much star power and skill for the Sixers to trade him, but that only keeps him in an imperfect situation and blocks his leap to full-fledged superstardom.”
Career-wise, it might be really best for Simmons to start a new journey on a team where he would be officially considered as the face of the franchise and the No. 1 option on the offensive end of the floor. It may not put him closer to winning an NBA championship title, but it would give him the opportunity to further improve his game and address his weaknesses on both ends of the floor.
Another major reason why Simmons should leave the Sixers is his chemistry with Embiid. They are indeed two of the most talented players in the league right now, but they don’t seem to be destined to play together in one team. In the years that they played together, Buckley said that it’s crystal clear that Simmons is a “bad fit” with the All-Star center.
“In a basketball sense, he’s a bad fit with Joel Embiid. They’re uber-talented enough to make it work anyway with the right supporting cast—they had the second-highest raw plus/minus of any two-man tandem in 2017-18 (plus-436 across 1,306 minutes)—but it doesn’t take a doctorate in hoops to realize they’re a wonky fit. Simmons works best at high speeds. Embiid is best optimized in controlled, half-court possessions. Both could use more shooting than the other offers.”
As of now, the Sixers haven’t shown a strong indication that they are planning to break their young superstar duo in the 2020 offseason. However, anything is possible in the NBA. If they suffer a huge disappointment in the 2020 Playoffs, rumors surrounding Simmons and his future in Philadelphia would likely heat up this fall.