There is a very good case for both sides of the argument.
Last week, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Celtics had an interest in Simmons:
The Celtics are interested in trading for Ben Simmons, per @ShamsCharania
Any deal for Simmons would have to include Jaylen Brown pic.twitter.com/lA7uBSdVoJ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 8, 2021
The Celtics president of basketball operations, and former Celtics head coach, seemed to not want that rumor floating around any longer.
After underachieving in Stevens’ last year as the head coach, Boston has not impressed consistently this year.
The Celtics recently had their best stretch of basketball.
They won at Orlando and Miami on consecutive nights to begin a 4-1 stretch.
Those five games were great for the Celtics:
Over last five games the Celtics still can't hit wide open threes (25-for-86), but other than that they are:
• 1st in DRTG (97.5)
• 2nd in OPP FG% (41.4)
• 1st in OPP 3P% (27.2)
• 4th in contested shots (679)
• 4th in REB% (52.5)
They have also won four out of last five ☘️
— Tomek Kordylewski (@Timi_093) November 13, 2021
However, an injury-riddled matchup at Cleveland on Saturday night ended in a two-point loss.
The 6-7 Celtics may need a change, so could that change be a trade for Simmons?
Why is Ben Simmons Worth it for the Celtics?
The Celtics have had an interesting recent history in terms of guards who pass the basketball.
Here is who has led the team in assists the last six seasons:
- 2021-22: Dennis Schröder (5.4), Marcus Smart (4.7)
- 2020-21: Smart (5.7), Kemba Walker (4.9)
- 2019-20: Smart (4.9), Walker (4.8)
- 2018-19: Kyrie Irving (6.9), Al Horford (4.2)
- 2017-18: Irving (5.1), Smart (4.8)
- 2016-17: Isaiah Thomas (5.9), Horford (5.0)
Marcus Smart by no means should be the main ball handler or passer for a contender.
Smart has finished in the top three in assists per game on the Celtics since 2015-16.
The Celtics are in need of a player like Simmons to carry the load in terms of ball-handling and passing.
The 2017-18 Rookie of the Year and three-time all-star (2019-2021) could be a huge part of the Celtics moving forward.
He has the 10th-best assist percentage among active players and finished in the top 12 in assists per game from 2017-18 to 2020-21.
He led the NBA in steals per game in 2019-20, and he rebounds well, too.
Not only is he strong with the defensive statistics, but he can also walk the walk with his defensive rating.
His defensive rating was the fifth-best one in the NBA last season.
Simmons can provide a lot of value for the current and future Celtics teams.
Why is Ben Simmons Not Worth it for the Celtics?
Unfortunately, Simmons has been a terrible clubhouse guy in the year 2021.
He has yet to play a game for the 76ers this season, and he cannot shoot when it counts.
Here is how Simmons fared during the 2021 playoffs:
- career-low playoff performances in points (11.9) and rebounds per game (7.9)
- .342 on free throw shooting
On the bright side, he had 8.8 assists per game and did almost average a triple-double in the playoffs.
However, that free throw performance (25 for 73) was by far the worst in the NBA during the postseason.
Clint Capela attempted 2.2 free throws per game and shot 44 percent, and he was the second-worst player.
Simmons could not be relied upon in clutch situations in the playoffs.
Also, Simmons did not get a rousing recommendation from his current head coach:
Doc Rivers answers a question whether Ben Simmons can be the point guard of a championship team pic.twitter.com/8xL35u98RC
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) June 21, 2021
Doc Rivers was asked:
“Do you think Ben Simmons can still be a point guard of a championship team like the one you guys want to become?
“I don’t know the answer to that.”
Well, the former Celtics head coach — the one before Stevens — could be foreshadowing what could happen if the Celtics acquire Simmons.
Maybe he is not worth the risk.
If the Celtics want to make a big splash, they can try this high-risk, high-reward move and go for Simmons.
He has the potential to give Boston a huge boost.
Simmons can fill the Celtics’ need for a consistent ball-handler who can pass better than almost any other active NBA player.
Unfortunately, he comes with some baggage.
Not only is does he come with a huge price tag (Jaylen Brown) from a divisional rival, but he also has tremendous offensive struggles.
It may be close to 50/50 in terms of what decision to make, but this Celtics team is not currently a contender.
If the C’s want a chance at being a contender, the Simmons trade is the way to go.
Go get Simmons and cross your fingers, Boston.