In the latest batch of NBA rumors, the top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft is in play. The Philadelphia 76ers recently hired Doc Rivers as their new head coach during a huge overhaul of the organization. According to the grapevine, the Sixers want to trade Ben Simmons and draft picks to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the #1 pick. The Sixers will then utilize the top pick to select LaMelo Ball.
That’s a lot to digest in one lede.
The Sixers are in the middle of a shakeup after an embarrassing first-round sweep by the Boston Celtics. A couple of days after their elimination from the NBA postseason, the Sixers fired head coach Brett Brown, who toiled with the team during its darkest years while they went through “The Process,” which is a fancy buzzword for tanking.
Rumors have been swirling across Philadelphia for the past couple of weeks that even Joel Embiid is on the trading block. Teams like the Golden State Warriors or Miami Heat were mentioned as potential new homes for Embiid.
Over the weekend, the Simmons to Minnesota rumor gained traction. Former NFL star, Terrell Owens, approved of the potential move on Twitter.
Great move! They need a shooter. With Lamelo, he gives them that as well as being a ball handler. https://t.co/bgh8CKDkRr
— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) October 2, 2020
Who’s #1? Anthony Edwards or LaMelo Ball
The Minnesota Timberwolves hit the draft lottery this year with the #1 pick, with the Golden State Warriors picking second. Most mock drafts have Anthony Edwards going #1 overall, with LaMelo Ball right behind at #2.
Edwards tore up the SEC during his freshman season with the Georgia Bulldogs. Ball opted to head overseas and played pro ball in Australia during his gap year aboard before he could be eligible for the NBA Draft. LaMelo, the youngest of the three hoop-crazy sons of LaVar Ball, is projected as the most talented of the three Ball brothers. His old brother Lonzo was drafted by the LA Lakers and dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans last year in the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade.
The Sixers have one first-round pick and four second-round picks at their disposal. They can package two second-rounders and move up to late in the first round. Or they can package their own #1 pick with second-rounders, and toss Ben Simmons (16.4 ppg, 8.0 assists, 7.8 rebounds) in the deal.
The question is, will the Timberwolves be dumb enough to bite on the Simmons trade and take a huge liability off the Sixers’ hands?
No J Simmons, Jenner’d
Simmons, an oversized point guard at 6-foot-10, originally hails from Australia. He made the tabloids last year when he was linked to Kendall Jenner. When Jenner blew him off to attend the Coachella music festival (i.e. the Super Bowl for influencers) instead of watching him play in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, everyone knew she had moved on from their brief tryst.
The breakup coincided with a cold streak from Simmons. The Sixers were knocked out of the 2019 playoffs and social media quickly cited Jenner as the reason the team imploded.
Fantasy nerds and NBA stat geeks will point to a very clear observation: Simmons is a horrible shooter. To use a hackneyed cliche, the kid couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.
Simmons didn’t connect on a 3-pointer over 160 games in his first two seasons. In 2020, he attempted seven treys and knocked down two in 57 games of action. He’s a career 8.3% 3-point shooter.
In the modern NBA, even seven-foot giants better have an outside touch because it’s all about knocking down open treys.
Opposing defense jammed the paint against the Sixers because they knew that Simmons couldn’t hurt them on the perimeter.
The logical next step will be to remove Simmons from the lineup. The Sixers organization and the fans adore Joel Embiid, so it looks like Simmons is the odd man out because he can still fetch a decent price on the trade market.