On June 23rd, 2016, Ben Simmons is drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. By pairing Joel Embiid with a 6-foot-10 point guard who has incredible court vision, the 76ers believed they were set up to have a superstar pairing for years to come.
Obviously, we know that vision never came to fruition. There were signs early on of Simmons’ lack of dedication to improving his skill set, namely his shooting ability. He seemed content to live the celebrity lifestyle that the NBA brought him and utilize his God-given talents to play the game of basketball when he was obligated to.
Is it possible Simmons will retire soon: Simmons rollercoaster ride with the Philadelphia 76ers
On the other hand, there were glimpses where Simmons looked like Magic Johnson and everyone all but forgot about his shooting woes. In addition to that, Simmons is an elite defender and again by dominating one side of the ball and facilitating to his teammates, his pitfalls were masked.
He became a three-time All-Star and made the NBA First team All-Defense twice. Even though hindsight is 20/20 and we like to harp on the bad, in fairness we cannot ignore the greatness he showed in flashes, particularly during the regular seasons.
In Simmons’ last full year with the Philadelphia 76ers, he and Joel Embiid helped lead the 76ers to the number one overall seed in the Eastern Conference and gave the city hopes of a realistic NBA Championship run. After a gentleman’s sweep in a beatdown of the Washington Wizards, the 76ers were poised to face the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, and this is where the nightmare begins.