Sixers: Realistic Ben Simmons trade targets

Sixers, Ben Simmons Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Sixers, Ben Simmons Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sunday night the Philadelphia 76ers’ season ended in agonizing fashion, losing at home to the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks. After all the talk about good vibes and how this year felt different, they looked like the same old 76ers in the fourth quarter, completely unable to get quality shots in the halfcourt and begging Ben Simmons to be aggressive on offense.

There is a lot of blame to place at a lot of feet, but certainly no one will receive as much criticism as Ben Simmons. As much as I have defended Simmons, there’s no denying that this season was a huge letdown for him. During the regular season, Simmons averaged 14.3 points per game, which was already a career low. In this Atlanta series he averaged just 9.9 points per game, an embarrassing number that’s frankly just not good enough. Whether it’s a mental block, or an attitude issue, or something deeper, Ben is obviously hesitant and uncomfortable on the offensive end of the floor and that discomfort just cost these 76ers a potential championship.

A Game 7 flameout feels like the end of Ben Simmons in Philadelphia. How might the Sixers move on?

It seems a foregone conclusion that the Philadelphia front office will try to move Ben Simmons this offseason. The hard part is figuring out exactly what his trade value is at this point. At only 24 years old, he has three All-Star appearances, two All-Defensive appearances, and just finished as the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year. Despite the impressive resume, the entire narrative surrounding Simmons right now is about what he can’t do (score), and for good reason. But the fact remains that he has significant value because of what he brings to the defensive end of the floor.

A lot of his value will be determined on an individual basis by the feelings of each individual front office and also by how desperately they think they need to make a move. The Sixers need to target a bonafide number two scorer in any Ben Simmons trade, and ideally would like to get a legitimate table-setter as well. No team that thinks they are constructed to win a championship right now will trade for Simmons because of the risk he represents, but there are a few teams either going nowhere or going the wrong way that might be willing to take a flyer to change their fortunes.