Ben Simmons’ limitations shouldn’t be a concern for Cavs fans.
Ben Simmons is a fascinating player. Not for his skillset or anything on the court, but for the stark contrast in opinions that he seems to generate. Former NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal said that Simmons isn’t that great. That he has no right to request a trade. Yet, according to Sam Amico, one NBA GM believes that Simmons is better than the Cavs were in its entirety in the 2020-2021 season and on his own gives the Cavs a brighter future.
Such different takes on one singular player. So what’s the truth of the situation? After all, that’s what we thrive on here, facts over feelings; is Simmons truly bad, or is he just misunderstood? Well, the answer is that it’s both kinda true. On one hand, it’s hard to argue that he’s an elite player, on the other hand, he’s still an improvement for many teams.
Every team in the league would try to get him if they could, but they would all play him differently. The Lakers and Mavericks would likely not have him play point, but The Heat probably would. The Cavs are one of the teams that seem to want to use him for what he’s been drafted to be; a play-maker.
This has caused some fans to take issue with the idea of trading for him. Decreeing that he’s “not a winner”. The thing is, that’s a soft argument. If Luka Doncic became available, you better believe 30 teams would be trying to get him. By default, he’s “not a winner” either. That doesn’t mean he’s not one of the best three players in the league.
Some will argue holding out for someone more complete, but what are the odds someone better than Simmons becomes available at the same time the Cavaliers have the assets to move in a trade?
Now’s the time.
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Cavs fans need to accept that the team is bad, and Ben Simmons makes it better
The 2021-2022 Cavs team is bad. Everything one can say about the positive outlook on this team revolves around an unprovable, and unquantifiable notion; potential. “Darius Garland could be a top-five point guard!” “Evan Mobley could be a generational talent!” “Dylan Windler could be the answer!” “Isaac Okoro is….there!”
Potential. The most offensive word in sports.
Simmons, however, is what he is. He’s not going to be Steph Curry or Doncic, hitting step-back threes. That’s fine. Simmons makes this team, barring gutting the team in a trade, an instant playoff contender.
“But he sucks in the playoffs!” Worrying about how he plays in the playoffs is like worrying about how you’ll pay for your mortgage on your new house while the plane is crashing. This team can’t even get to the playoffs, and you’re worried about what you’ll do once there? How about we get there first, how’s that?
With Jarrett Allen telling fans (via Chris Fedor) “..then maybe two, three years down the line we’re fighting for that fifth seed or something”, how can you expect this team to compete now?
He’s a bad shooter, sure but that’s really it. He can finish around the rim, he plays defense inside and out, he can rebound, he can pass and he can facilitate an offense. Name two players who can do all those things combined on this team.
Yes, spacing with him, Okoro, and Allen on the court at the same time won’t be great, but only if you don’t actually know how to coach. Simmons has shown the ability to challenge defenders at the rim, people will crash down on him (they always do) and then Simmons can kick it out to a shooter.
Plus, aren’t fans saying Okoro will turn into a good shooter eventually?
It’s simple and effective. Plus the Cavs can always flip Okoro and Dylan Windler for a shooter if the team is succeeding but in need of shooting help. After all, if the Cavs are in need of a wing who shoots, you’re not holding onto Okoro, and a need like that all but screams “Windler failed to fill that role”, so why bother hanging onto him either?
Yes, you’ll have concerns in the playoffs, but how about the Cavs actually get to the playoffs without LeBron James on the roster for the first time in 23 years before we start complaining about the playoffs.