Danny Green has defended his teammate Ben Simmons on many occasions during and after the Sixers' 2020-2021 season. As he sees the value Simmons brings to him and the 76ers on the court, the 34-year-old veteran has a different perspective on Simmons than those watching from the stands or tuned in from home.
While Green has acknowledged that Simmons has things to work on, the veteran forward recently discussed the potential issues with trading Simmons away.
Will Simmons find a new landing spot next season? All signs point to yes. However, the chances of Simmons getting traded anytime soon seem to be decreasing by the day. Following Philly's second-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks, it seemed almost inevitable Simmons would be traded before training camp.
Now, the Sixers seem to be preparing for the three-time All-Star to make his return to Camden, New Jersey, next month in preparation for the Sixers' 2021-2022 season.
Still, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, it's a matter of when not if the Sixers trade Simmons. Whether the trade comes before or after the start of the upcoming season, a trade is likely to arrive at some point -- and Sixers veteran Danny Green recently discussed the potential issues with trading Simmons away on the Crossover Podcast with Sports Illustrated's own Howard Beck.
"We don’t know what we’re going to get back for him," Green said. "We may get a point guard; we may get wings. That may change a lot. I might be playing with a different type of point guard. I might be playing with different types of wings. I might be coming off the bench. I don’t know who we’re going to get."
Many reports have indicated the Sixers are gunning for Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard. Unfortunately for them, Lillard's currently unavailable. While Lillard's time in Portland could certainly be ticking, the All-Star is willing to see things through and plans to begin the season with the Blazers.
Regardless of who the Sixers trade Simmons for, Green realizes that he gains a more prominent role on the defensive side of the ball without the Defensive Player of the Year runner up suffocating the opposition.
"Defensively, I probably become the primary defender," Green explained. "Not saying it’s an issue or a problem for me, but we have one less wing defender without him. Now it’s me and Matisse (Thybulle). Not saying that the other guys don’t play defense, but you talk about our main defenders. That was a big part of that and a big part of our defense. Ben, you know, was DPOY for us this year. We thought Ben was able to guard one through five and set the tone for us. If he’s gone, that changes a lot, not just offensively but defensively as well for me.”
Defense has always been a strong point in Green's game, but he is a step slower these days as he enters year 13 in the NBA. The Sixers would certainly lose their most versatile defender if they trade Simmons, but that defensive dominance only got them as far as they've gotten before as Philly still came up short in the second round of the playoffs.
The goal of becoming the best defensive team in the NBA might not be possible without the DPOY candidate on board, but Sixers President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey, has the bar set much higher as he's made it clear the Sixers are in a championship or bust situation. So, if a point guard is available that runs the offense better than Simmons does, Morey will more than likely strike.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.