The Warriors front office reportedly is divided on whether the organization should make a trade for Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons.
An elite defender, Simmons has yet to develop a jump shot in the NBA, and it haunted him like never before this past postseason. Seemingly on his way out of Philly, Simmons likely will have a new home before the start of the 2021-22 season.
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith joined 95.7 The Game's "Steiny, Guru & Dibs," and was asked if he would pursue Simmons if he were in charge of the Warriors.
“Yes, I do," Smith said. "I do understand, from what I'm hearing, is that it’s a house-divided in that regard. Some people do, some people don’t. I would tell you that I certainly understand any divide in the Bay Area. Look at the way that Draymond Green has struggled to shoot the basketball the last few years from the perimeter. If they added Ben Simmons to that mix, where would that leave us?"
Simmons' struggles when it comes to shooting the ball, whether it be in the paint, beyond the arc, or even at the free-throw line, have raised some concerns when discussed as a potential piece alongside Draymond Green, who also struggles with shooting.
He might never develop an adequate jump shot, but if he were to improve his shooting from the free-throw line, he could still provide a team with plenty of scoring to go along with an elite style of defense.
“I would also add this about Simmons -- think about it this way -- at 6’10” with his magnificent ball-handling skills, his athleticism, his ability to push the ball up the floor, to finish at the basket, to kick the ball out to open shooters and being an elite defender -- he got my vote for being Defensive Player of the Year -- that’s how big-time he is," Smith said.
"If you looked at Ben Simmons and realized that if he could shoot free throws in the 75-80% range, he would easily be a 23-to-25 point-per-game scorer. Without a jump shot, that’s how good he is."
23-to-25 points-per-game and elite defense would have a huge impact on any team, but what will it cost?
“When I think about it from that perspective," Smith said. "And I think about the rest of Golden State’s roster, I'm thinking about the likes of an Andrew Wiggins and a few first round picks given up to get Ben Simmons. Make sure you keep [James] Wiseman, make sure you keep Draymond Green, of course, Klay [Thompson] and Steph [Curry]. Would I do that? Yes, I would.”
If the Warriors are able to pull off a trade for Simmons, and he simultaneously improves on his shooting, Golden State might very well be set up for another championship run next season.