Ben Simmons – one of the most polarizing players in Philly history?
He went for a triple double last night and has consistently busted his ass for the Sixers, yet it seems like half of the NBA world loves him and the other half can’t stand him.
I thought that was exemplified rather perfectly in contrasting takes delivered by Stan Van Gundy and Ric Bucher, with SVG saying this about Ben while doing color commentary on the TNT broadcast:
SVG: “is it possible to say that an (All Star) like Ben Simmons is underrated? Because I think he is. I still don’t think people appreciate how good a player this guy is at both ends of the floor. I think he’s in the league of Kawhi and George as two way players in this league.” pic.twitter.com/rbpWzOweC6
— Patrick (@EaglesPMC) February 12, 2020
Bucher, who is now with SiriusXM and Bleacher Report, had the complete opposite take, saying this morning on Undisputed that he’d trade Simmons:
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) February 12, 2020
Keep in mind, this is the same Bucher who famously said a few years ago that he trusted the New York Knicks’ process and ripped the Sixers’ rebuild.
And no, Simmons doesn’t have any semblance of a jump shot, but he still went for 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists against a very good LA team last night. That’s why it’s hard to get too bent out of shape about Ben, when you think about the type of ceiling he can reach WITH that skill added to his game.
The correct path forward, of course, is to try to make the Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid on-court relationship work. You saw how much better it looked with Al Horford coming off the bench and Brett Brown staggering his rotations appropriately last night. Ben and Joel will never be the perfect fit, but they can certainly play together at a very high level, so you’ve gotta be hesitant to blow that up when you have two pseudo-generational talents on your roster.
It really is fascinating though. Simmons draws more contrasting viewpoints than Carson Wentz, Claude Giroux, Bryce Harper, or any other current Philly athlete.