In case you have not been paying close attention, Ben Simmons has put on a play making clinic thus far in the Summer League. He finished the Utah Summer League leading all players with 5.5 assists per game and added a little bit of flair to his passes as well. [embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnJwOjhMMV8[/embedyt]
He has thus far shown the ability to make the players around him better by setting them up for easier scoring opportunities. As you can see in the video above, one of the main beneficiaries to Ben Simmons play making ability is Richaun Holmes. Holmes has just about as much of an offensive skill set as a cinder block, but averaged 15 points on 62 percent shooting during the Utah Summer League, an obvious by-product of playing with Ben Simmons. Simmons’s ability to make the players around him better makes trading Jahlil Okafor the obvious choice. Will Jahlil Okafor become an even better scorer with easier looks by playing with Simmons? You’re damn right he will, and so will Nerlens Noel. As long as Nerlens is in the right spot on offense and is running the floor, Simmons will hook him up all day. You know what having Ben Simmons does not do? He cannot make you better on defense. So giving Noel easier looks around the basket, plus his high level of defense makes him exponentially more valuable to the Sixers.
Now that Simmons is the focal point of this 76ers offense, having a ball stopping big man that cannot play defense does no good for you. Especially if he is starting. As of right now, Joel Embiid will be eased into the NBA, not starting right away. That would make either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor the starting center to start the season, maybe for the entire season depending on Embiid‘s health. So having the center that can play defense, play Ben Simmons’s fast pace, as well as being effective in the pick and roll, makes it an easy decision for Bryan Colangelo and the front office. Remember, journeyman backup Ish Smith made a HUGE difference for Noel the past two seasons. Now imagine the difference with a play maker like Simmons.
Now for some other Sixers Summer League fun.
Christian Wood deserves to be on an NBA roster. In the Utah Summer League, Christian Wood averaged 45 points per 40 minutes. He looks to have made huge strides in the off-season and I think he should be on an NBA roster. It won’t end up being the Sixers roster because, ya know, so many big guys.
And did I mention Ben Simmons? It is a fun time to be a Sixers fan right now, especially after T.J. McConnell had a game-winner last night! (I turned the game off after his layup, let me have this one).