Make It Make Sense: Ben Simmons Edition
Come one, come all! You’re all invited inside this beautiful mind of mine. This is the first edition of “Make It Make Sense.” A series in which I’ll be writing about things I don’t understand and/or things that the world is getting wrong. As someone who is always right, I have this feeling a lot, so it’s time I let it out. Today, we’ll talk about Ben Simmons.
What?! Your fantasy basketball league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax this past season? Inconceivable! Check out all the features of Fantrax Fantasy Basketball Commissioner and we’re pretty sure you’ll come around to our way of thinking.
Don’t Let Debate Shows Tell You Who Can/Can’t Be Great!
Between you and me, I didn’t think Ben Simmons would still be a 76er right now. I honestly can’t believe it. That means that there’s been disrespect on two fronts:
- The 76ers disrespecting Ben Simmons’ talent by wanting him gone
- The rest of the league for not dropping everything to trade for him
Before I tell you why you should throw away your Ben Simmons bias, let’s first recap how we got here.
How did we get to this point? Well, Sam Hinke. Hinke was the GM of Philly from 2013 through 2016. He wanted to build the team into a contender and tried to do so in the most efficient way he knew how. To lose. By “tanking” the 76ers were able to get high draft picks (corresponding to the first rights to the best young talent). Those draft picks turned into Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Both have battled injuries early in their careers. Embiid missed his first two seasons to injury and has only played over 60 games twice in his career. Ben Simmons missed his first season and has played less than 60 games his last two seasons. We’ve been waiting to see what Philly looks like together, completely healthy, and making a deep playoff run. We saw that this year, and… it left something to be desired. The 76ers were bounced out of the playoffs, and Ben Simmons played passively on offense. This was juxtaposed with Embiid having an unforgettable performance (while he had a tear in his knee). A dream recipe for your favorite debate shows to start the trade machine.
Where Do We Go From Here?
I’m not going to make the argument that Ben Simmons played well in the playoffs this year. But his teammates and coaches throwing him under the bus, as if he was the reason they lost, is ridiculous. There are rumors that Simmons hasn’t been returning anyone’s calls on the team. I don’t know if that’s true, but I can certainly understand the anger on his end. It’s time someone sings Ben Simmons’ praises and talks about the insane ways that he affects a game. Embiid is great, but the reason Simmons is a winning player is so much larger than his scoring/attempts. For instance, let’s look at his box score figures. This is a fantasy website after all.
- He’s averaged 16pts, 8asts, and 8rebs over the course of his career. That’s a near triple-double from the 6’10,” interchangeable guard/forward. No matter what team he lands on, you can expect these stats or better from him. He’s not the alpha on this team in terms of scoring (that goes to Embiid), he may not even be the beta (as that title goes to Tobias Harris many nights), his role is the pace-setting point guard. Someone who can run fast breaks, make the smart pass, collapse a defense. You know, do all the things that free up the role players to do their jobs. The things that every championship team needs on their roster. He provides that. He’s never wavered in providing that service either. Eight assists to three turnovers for his career shows he’s pretty damn good at it, by the way.
I brought up the point guard role, didn’t I? Let’s expound on that a bit. This is a league that has been forever changed by the dominance of the Warriors in their championship runs. If you’re going to have any prolonged success in this league, you’re going to need to be able to shoot threes at a high clip. A team shooting 41% from three will beat a team shooting 60% from two, all the time. It’s the math of the game. The Warriors managed to find players that could make more than 40% of their threes. But back to Ben:
- With Simmons on the floor, the Sixers shot over 40% from three. When he was off the floor, they shot sub 30% from three. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Ben led the league in assists on three-pointers, just ahead of Russell Westbrook (the guy who averages a triple-double and gets called a stat-padder). I say all that to say, so what if he doesn’t shoot the ball. Draymond Green famously said, “Why would I shoot the ball, when I can pass it to Steph or Klay to shoot.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the right idea. The math supports it. Ben Simmons constantly makes the right basketball play. Could he use more confidence/alpha mentality offensively? I don’t know. That’s the kind of argument that people who don’t know the game make. I remember when people would beg LeBron to shoot game-winners, despite having another teammate open to shoot. People want storylines, not beautiful basketball. I trust that Ben Simmons is making the smartest basketball play in his mind at all times.
- 2019-2020 steal champ (four seasons in the top 20 in steals; three seasons in top 20 in steals per game), 2x All-Defensive Team, four seasons in the top 20 in defensive win shares, two seasons in the top 20 for defensive rating, and runner up for defensive player of the year last year. He can also guard positions one through five, unlike Rudy Gobert (who seems to have the lockdown on DPOY these days). Really. A freak of nature. What more can you ask for? By the time his career is finished, there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll have a couple DPOYs to his names, as well as a spot in the Hall of Fame. And that’s if he never shoots another three pointer in his life.
I could go longer, but you’ve probably already started to tune me out. I know people only read tweets these days. Just put some respect on Ben Simmons’ name. Get rid of your recency bias. Draft him near the tops of your fantasy leagues. He’s a stat stuffer in the best sense of the word.
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2020, and we’re not stopping now. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.