Ben Simmons Rumor of the Day: Atlanta Hawks Corroboration

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Let’s get it back to Ben Simmons rumors.

Last week, Marc Stein reported that the Hawks had emerged as a possible suitor in the Simmons saga. Everybody had a good laugh and did the “Sixers lost to the Hawks last year” joke, but upon further examination, Atlanta is an interesting possible destination. They’ve got some affordable young pieces down there.

Monday, Shams Charania at The Athletic confirmed Stein’s report and also revealed that the Sixers are currently NOT fining Ben Simmons. He then added some detail to the story:

The Hawks are an emerging potential landing spot for Simmons, whose Defensive Player of the Year-caliber play would surely elevate one of the league’s bottom five defenses. In scanning the Hawks’ roster, it’s obvious John Collins — who signed a five-year, $125 million deal in restricted free agency last offseason — and Cam Reddish are among the players who could acquiesce a package for Simmons. It’s unclear whether the Hawks are ready to put such a proposal on the table after making a run to the Eastern Conference finals a season ago.

Collins, however, has grown increasingly frustrated over his role in Atlanta, multiple sources have told The Athletic. His shot attempts per game and usage rate have decreased in each of the past three seasons — even as the athletic, energetic Collins has improved his offensive repertoire. The 6-foot-9 big man has challenged the Hawks locker room on multiple occasions to play team basketball and commit to one another this season. Oftentimes, Collins has felt his voice go unheard.

Collins is 24 years old. He’s a really good player, averaging 17/8/2 this season while shooting a career-high 42.7% from three on three attempts per game. He shoots 58% from two on 9.1 attempts per game and is a good help defender and athletic weak side rim protector. He plays power forward, so if the Sixers made Collins the centerpiece of a Simmons deal, you’d either have to bump Tobias Harris down to the three or make a corresponding move to reshape the roster around the Embiid/Collins front court duo.

John Collins, however, doesn’t solve the problem of perimeter creation. Even if you like Tyrese Maxey, and think he can be your #1 point guard right now and in the future, the main thing the Sixers need is somebody who can create their own shot. Nobody on the roster is an elite isolation or pick and roll closer type of guy. They’ve been closing through Embiid, which has worked at times, but he’s definitely not built the prototypical Damian Lillard/Bradley Beal/Kevin Durant type of self-creator. You just ask yourself if it’s sustainable.

Collins a solid player. Does he move the needle for the Sixers? Not without a corresponding move or three-way trade that brings back a guard, because Collins and Harris on the same team feels a little redundant.

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