Today, we continue our series of potential trade targets for the Hawks, covering arguably the most polarizing figure in the entire NBA, Ben Simmons. It would be somewhat poetic if the team that ended “The Process” did it in more ways than one. The Hawks’ triumph over the 76ers last season in seven games led to Philadelphia’s locker room imploding. Simmons has had minimal contact with the team since and refuses to play. Now, the Hawks have the opportunity to trade for the disgruntled three-time All-Star, breaking apart a duo that many believed was destined for an NBA championship.
If you missed part one of this series, click the link below:
The Hawks have already been linked to Ben Simmons by multiple sources. For a number of reasons, I understand why fans might be against acquiring him. The way he is forcing himself out of Philadelphia screams drama queen, and that’s a label that has been attached to him all the way back to his college days. There’s also the question of how committed he is to his craft. It seems almost unfathomable that he could be working as hard as he could on his game and still be such an abysmal shooter. And if it isn’t his work ethic, then what is it? Is he scared to shoot the basketball? That’s not a promising sign either.
Despite his warts, and they are all legitimate, Simmons could be exactly what this Hawks team needs. He might be the best perimeter defender in the Association, something the Hawks are severely lacking, and because of his size and length, his defensive versatility is second to none. Pairing him with Trae Young in the backcourt makes a lot of sense.
From an offensive standpoint, Simmons may never be able to shoot, but his slashing ability is elite. If he’s willing to take a backseat to Trae Young from a ball-handling perspective, he’ll end up getting easy bucket after easy bucket with Young feeding him. When Young isn’t on the floor, Simmons can be the backup point guard the Hawks need. There’s no questioning he is one of the best playmakers on the planet.
A trade for Simmons would either take the Hawks to the next level or turn them into an utter mess. That’s the risk any team takes when acquiring Simmons. The talent is undeniable, but there are red flags everywhere, and the Sixers aren’t going to move him unless they receive several high-quality players in return. I’m not sure if I would make this move right now if I were Travis Schlenk, but I do understand why he might be considering it.
Photo: Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire
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