Philadelphia 76ers: James Harden is not worth trading Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia 76ers should not trade Ben Simmons.

It is good to be back.

It has been quite some time since you have had the distinct pleasure of my opinion, but I deprive you no longer. In all seriousness, it really is nice to be back. It is good to write about the Philadelphia 76ers again, and it will be good to interact with those of you that read my opinion pieces and ultimately (probably) disagree.

A lot has changed since my last article. Al Horford, whom this author suggested would need to age with efficiency, is no longer with the team, and Brett Brown, of whom this author may have been the most vocally opposed to here at The Sixer Sense, has finally been outed. Despite those changes, it seems much of the criticism of the Sixers still remains at the feet of one Ben Simmons—a Ben Simmons of whom this author has historically been supportive. That will be one thing that has not changed in my public absence.

Right now, the hot topic is whether the Sixers should or should not look into a Ben Simmons for James Harden trade. This author is vehemently opposed to any such trade. Much of the trade talk revolves around how poorly the 76ers performed in an Embiidless game against The Land. However, it is worth noting that while the points per possession go down without Embiid (he is, after all, a world-class talent), the pace at which the team plays changes significantly without Embiid as well.

Any team who focuses and practices on getting touches for a traditional-styled back-to-the-basket center will play at a slower pace (albeit more efficient and ultimately more point producing because of that efficiency) than a team with a freewheeling, pass-happy point guard at the helm. As simple as trading Simmons may seem to many, we should remember what happened toward last season’s playoff run when Ben was unavailable to the team. Here is a reminder: They struggled mightily to move the ball and play at an impactful pace.

DISSENTING OPINION. James Harden in Sixers' next step. light

“But, this is where James Harden comes in,” you argue. “You see, he can provide the spacing and scoring when Embiid is not available.” Perhaps you are right. You may very well be. However, under no circumstances do I trade a 24-year old generational perimeter defender, distributor, and slasher, who seems to have an attitude focused on winning, for a 31-year old (however elite) man who has little relationship with the Sixers’ new mantra of “accountability.” The cost is too high in my eyes. Should Ben develop a serviceable mid-range shot, he immediately becomes a top five player in the NBA; and if he never does, he remains a top 20-25 player.

Also, consider this: Is Simmons all the Sixers have to give up to close the deal? Yahoo Sports opined on this trade just before the turn of the new year. They suggest that the Houston Rockers will also be looking to collect Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, and/or Shake Milton along with draft picks in any potential trade for Harden. Is that a trade with which Sixers fans could live? These considerations are not about fear of making a mistake; they are about the potential of what a correctly build roster with a deep bench looks like, and we have been seeing it for these first games of the season.

Put the shoe on another foot: Do you think the Bucks look around and ask, “What happens if Giannis goes down? To whom do we turn? Should we trade some pieces for another star?” This Sixer team is built correctly today. It is also a team built for the future and they need to start thinking like the cream of the crop. The Sixers have moved when they should have held, and held when they should have moved. Now is the time to hold.

Next. 15 greatest seasons in Sixers history. dark

This team is one shooter away from being a deadly championship contender: But that shooter’s name is not James Harden. Wait for the right move.