Will the Philadelphia 76ers trade Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons?
That is the biggest question floating around the NBA in anticipation of a wild and incredibly unique offseason in the next couple months.
If the Sixers decide to separate the two young stars, the Warriors surely will be in the mix as a trade partner, as they have valuable first-round picks in the next two drafts along with the salaries to match any deal.
Whom the Warriors would desire more between the stars is unknown, however. Last week, Hall of Famer Chris Mullin shared his thoughts on the choice, deciding that Embiid would be the perfect addition to the Warriors. NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh has a different opinion.
“To me it is Ben Simmons,” Haberstroh told NBC Sports Bay Area.
“I think he is the perfect fit next to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and people might say ‘Hey, he kind of fills the same role as Draymond Green, why would you go for a guy that kind of duplicates what he does?’ Well, Ben Simmons is much younger than Draymond Green,” Haberstroh explained. “I think if you’re going to try to acquire someone with the No. 2 pick, and package it with next year’s pick they received from the Minnesota Timberwolves, I think you have to shoot for a player that is going to be someone that kind of transitions to that next phase of this Warriors team, after Stephen Curry, after Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.”
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At just 24 years of age, Simmons already has three full NBA seasons under his belt, winning Rookie of the Year as well as being named to the All-Star team twice. The most prominent critique of his game, though, is his unwillingness to shoot from the outside — especially from 3-point range. He has attempted only 24 career 3-pointers and made only two of them.
“I think in that scenario,” Haberstroh added, “if Ben Simmons came to the Warriors, I do think that Steve Kerr and the organization could convince him to start shooting 3 pointers, and expand that game that he was not willing to do under Brett Brown.”
Haberstroh views a potential trade for Embiid as carrying more risk.
“The injury concerns long term would have me a little bit worried about investing in him long term in a trade.”
Of course, Simmons is dealing with a knee injury of his own right now. Nonetheless, Haberstroh is enamored with the quick pace the Warriors could operate at with Simmons in the lineup.
“Ben Simmons, even though he has this knee issue currently, I think just the speed factor, getting up and down the floor, that would be incredible to watch, what Ben Simmons could do with that offense.”
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While the Warriors could push the pace on offense and live in transition, the defensive boost Simmons would bring to Golden State is equally appealing. Simmons, at 6-foot-10 and 230 pounds, already has become an elite defender in the league, capable of defending opponents of all sizes.
“He’d be like Andre Iguodala,” Haberstroh said. “You can throw him against a lot of different players, and win a Finals MVP in the right situation.”
For that to be the case, the Warriors obviously would have to make it back to the NBA Finals after missing the playoffs entirely with the worst record in the league. With Simmons on the roster, however, that dream for Golden State might be a lot closer to reality.