Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons is Draymond Green 2.0

Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers’ star has comparable traits to Golden State’s Swiss Army knife.

Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons hasn’t taken the step forward everyone was expecting this offseason. Instead, Simmons is playing more of a Draymond Green roll. Elevating everyone else’s play while being the defensive anchor on the court. They share several similar strengths and weaknesses. Strengths are: being an active screener, capable of defending 1-5, playmaking, rebounding, and both are high .I.Q players. The weakness they share is obvious: shooting.

Before moving on, it’s worth noting that Ben Simmons has the ability to play on the same level as LeBron James on any given night. Simmons’s lack of aggressiveness and very unselfish play is what stops him from reaching his full potential.

When the Sixers field their regular starting five, we get the Draymond Green version of Ben Simmons. This is no knock on Ben Simmons’ game whatsoever. It speaks more about his current capability than future potential.

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Draymond Green is a three-time NBA champ, a five-time All-Defense member, a Defensive Player of the Year, and has made it to two All-NBA teams. Green played a pivotal role in the Golden State Warriors’ run over the past four years. Green made Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s lives a whole lot easier. You can say the same for Simmons, who helps all players around him get their game going.

So how do they elevate their teammates?

In transition, Green and Simmons know how to make their opponent feel uncomfortable with their unfathomable speed and laser ability passing. They make the right passes to the open man to create the best scoring chance.

Green strived in transition offense, especially in the Pre-Durant Warrior days when they played at an extremely quick pace. Creating an open lane or open shot in transition are Green and Simmons’s best strength on offense.

The transition is not the only part of the game where they are active. Draymond Green has always been an effective screener for the Warriors. Most effectively used as a roller in a pick and roll offense with Stephen Curry. Being limited as a shooter will force the coach to use you in a different way in  half court offense. Simmons has already shown glimpses of being an active screener and being a more than capable roll man.

Unfortunately, Brett Brown does not run a pick-and-roll offense, and we don’t get enough of Simmons screening for anyone despite being effective when he does do it. Unless Simmons magically starts shooting threes on a consistent basis — not happening anytime soon —  Brown must find a role on offense for his star point guard.

Making him a screener for dribble handoffs and pick-and-rolls, is probably the easiest way to not make the offense feel like the other team has a man advantage. This is how Ben Simmons would best be used in the Sixers offense.

Certainly, Green had the benefit of playing alongside the two greatest shooters ever in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. That make’s it a lot easier to pull off the pick-and-roll because of the amount of gravity Curry has with his shot. The Sixers do not have that level of shooting, nor will they ever.

However, the Sixers still have a few players they can pair nicely with Simmons in the pick -and-roll. Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson and even Raul Neto, who is probably the second-best passer on this team. It will never be as great as the Draymond Green paired with Curry, but any signs of life on the offensive end will do for Ben.

We haven’t even talked about Green’s true strengths as a player yet. We talked about his personal accolades before, all recognized because of his outstanding level on the defensive end. He’s only 6-foot-6 and is able to guard positions one through five. All these accolades are attainable for Simmons as well, who is 6-foot-10’ and as versatile on defense.

Cutting passing lanes, forcing turnovers, deflecting passes, rim protecting and being the defensive anchor is how Green got all those accomplishments. Green has been top 10 in deflections for four years running. Meanwhile, Ben Simmons is third this season with four deflections per game.

Also, in that same year, players defended by Draymond Green shot six percent worse overall and 11 percent worse within six feet of the basket.

Simmons currently leads the league in steals and is also posting close numbers to Green’s Defensive Player of the Year season. When a player is being guarded by Simmons, they shoot 5.3 percent worse overall and eight percent worse when within six feet. One thing is certain, Simmons will not be on the same level of rim protection Green ever was, but as a perimeter defender Simmons might have the upper hand.

Below shows how effectively Ben Simmons can stop the opposing team’s best player. (2019-2020 season)

( All stats are from

Simmons has embraced his defensive role; and when asked to do so, he can shut down the opposing team’s player. Just like Green was asked to do so for so long in his career.

In conclusion, the similarity of both these players are very close. They’re both unselfish playmakers, who struggle to shoot and are better utilized as screeners in the halfcourt offense. Defensively, they’re both great on-ball defenders as well as off-ball defenders.

Their high basketball I.Q.’s allows them to cut passing lanes, get in driving lanes and force turnovers. Solely on game alone — not Green’s personal character —  Simmons playing a more supportive role in a very talented starting five is definitely not a bad thing.

Ideally, Simmons has to be more active in the halfcourt offense, perhaps shoot threes, and keep the defender honest like Green did at one point in his career — or Brown can finally exploit his strength and use him as a roll man. Although, we want Simmons to develop his game and be as close to LeBron James as possible, playing the supportive Draymond Green role works too.

Next. Simmons earns Player of the Week. dark

Draymond Green was the enigma of that Warriors dynasty that brought the team together on the floor, and if we can have that in Philadelphia with Ben Simmons, then maybe the Sixers will have a dynasty of their own.