On a recent episode of 'The Lowe Post podcast,' ESPN's Zach Lowe shared some news on how NBA General Manager's now view the controversial Ben Simmons.
Simmons, a two-time all-star and runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year, had high expectations since entering the league as the top pick in 2016. But after a humiliating game five loss against the Hawks on Wednesday, his noticeable flaws were on display for countless viewers to see.
Of those viewers were NBA General Managers, who Lowe discussed in his June 17 podcast episode after game five.
"I have news for Philly fans. The GMs of the other teams watch the playoffs very, very closely. And there are definitely teams that I have talked to in the last 48 hours who were once in on Simmons, who say, at least to me, it could be posturing, 'Eh, we're a little less in than we used to be." Zach Lowe
The Ben Simmons dilemma
This comes in the midst of Simmons' underwhelming series versus the Atlanta Hawks. Through six games, he's averaging 10.7 points, 6 rebounds, and 7.8 assists. Those numbers aren't terrible, but they don't accurately depict his value. At times, he's been unplayable.
Simmons as a player is incredibly tough to evaluate. His on-ball defense on the perimeter is elite and helped lead the Sixers to the league's second-ranked defense in the regular season. He's also one of the best transition players in basketball, an excellent passer & finisher at the rim, and stands at 6'11, 240 pounds with plenty of mobility and athleticism.
However, his sheer inability to shoot the basketball is impossible to ignore. Simmons has never been a good shooter throughout his four NBA seasons. In 275 career games, he made just 5 total 3-pointers and shooting 59.7% from the charity stripe.
And in this series against the Hawks, those shooting woes are becoming even more detrimental. Atlanta has exploited Simmons' fatal flaw by employing the Hack-a-Simmons intentional foul strategy. By voluntarily sending him to the free-throw line, the Hawks stalled Philadelphia's offense.
Simmons' poor shooting sparked Atlanta's historic comeback in game five and played to their advantage countless times throughout the series. Altogether, Simmons has made a putrid 14 of his 41 free throw attempts this series. So the change of heart from the General Manager's that Lowe mentioned is completely valid.
Despite all the mishaps from Simmons and the Sixers in this series, there's still hope. They're on the verge of their first conference finals since 2001, with the series tied 3-3. They'll head back home to Philadelphia in hopes of closing it out.