We talked about this on the podcast today. I’m sort of blown away that LaVar Ball has managed to turn this into a free agency of sorts. We’ll consider Philly but not Boston. This happens to a degree with many top draft picks, but this just feels different because LaVar is such a wackadoo.
League sources said the concern regarding the Ball-Sixers link is the organization’s plan to feature forward Ben Simmons, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, in a ball dominant, point-forward role next season.
Under those basketball circumstances, it wouldn’t appear to be an ideal pairing. Ball is a playmaking point guard who figures to need the ball in his hands to maximize his true potential. However, the Sixers believe Ball and Simmons can mesh at a high level, sources say.
100% concur that they can co-exist. I can see where there would be some concern that Simmons would limit Ball’s opportunities, but Simmons doesn’t project to be a true point guard. Besides, Ball’s usage rate at UCLA was only 18%, which is relatively low (partly because he passed so much). Simmons’, on a bad LSU team, was a bit higher, at 26%, but that’s still not extreme. For comparison, Josh Hart, on a relatively balanced Villanova team, was over 27%, as were Dennis Smith Jr. at NC State and Malik Monk at Kentucky. So neither Simmons nor Ball is a totally ball-dominant player. They could easily co-exist. The concern is having too many pass-first players. If Ball were to fall to the Sixers, I wouldn’t hate the idea of signing more of a shooting or combo guard like J.J. Reddick or Patty Mills to shoot threes. Also, I’m coining Ball ‘N Ben now. It’s mine and you can’t have it.
LaVar has said that his son won’t work out for the Celtics, which is crazy because they hold the number one pick and it’s not like they’re some small market, no-name team. But he’s also said that should they wind up taking Ball (which is doubtful), he’d play there. This all feels like smoke and mirrors from LaVar to get attention. Either way, I’m glad that the Sixers seem to be in his good graces considering the fact that my first thought was to use a picture of LaVar on a post about his son.