Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons has received a lot of comparisons to former and current NBA players during his time in the league so far. Coming into the NBA, many dubbed Simmons as the next LeBron James.
Considering his jump shot was one of his biggest question marks, the LeBron comparisons faded away at this point. At a point, Simmons received comparisons to another face of the Los Angeles Lakers, NBA legend Magic Johnson.
Since Simmons isn't the prototypical size of an NBA point guard, many believed he could become another Magic Johnson-type of player. Obviously, with Simmons' value trending down as he turned in another disappointing playoff series in the second round, those Magic Johnson comparisons don't fit the narrative either.
Being somebody that's had an interest in working with Simmons before, Johnson has been paying attention to the Sixers' starting point guard over time. After witnessing Simmons struggle during the 2020-2021 NBA Playoff run, the former Lakers legend came to the conclusion that he cannot recover from his woes if he remains in Philly.
"It’s time for a change because he can’t recover from this," Johnson said on ESPN's KJZ show. "The locker room won’t recover from it."
While Johnson went back for a moment and made it clear he believes the Sixers lost the second-round series to the Hawks as a team when they dropped Game 5, he still thinks Simmons' time with the Sixers will come to an end sooner than later.
"He's gotta be somewhere else," Johnson continued. "Locker room and the fans -- it's over. You can't recover from this. First, we gotta look at Game 5. You already know Philadelphia loves the Sixers. You already know on talk radio who they are pointing at. Playing the point guard position, [you] have to be the leader [you] have to step up. He's a soft leader in terms of soft-spoken.
"If you don't deliver in crunch time, the finger is gonna get pointed. It's like playing the quarterback position in the NFL. If the team loses, you're gonna point the finger at the quarterback. They're gonna point the finger at Ben Simmons."
As Johnson speculated, a lot of the blame for the Sixers' struggles in the second round has been placed on Simmons. While the 76ers certainly lost as a team against the Hawks, Simmons' offensive limitations are nothing to overlook.
While Sixers head coach Doc Rivers is confident that Simmons can turn it around next season, it won't be surprising if Philly's President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey fields calls for the All-Star veteran as a fresh start could be beneficial both parties.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.