Since the end of their postseason run, the Philadelphia 76ers have been shopping Ben Simmons. The 25-year-old has made three consecutive NBA All-Star teams but will likely be on a new team at the start of the 2021-22 season.
With that in mind, should the Dallas Mavericks be calling to see what it would take to acquire the versatile star?
With the Sixers wanting to stay competitive through the package they get in return for Simmons, the Mavericks would likely have to build something around Kristaps Porzingis. While there's a good chance he bounces back in Dallas this season if fully healthy, every chance to improve the roster around Luka Doncic should at least be explored.
Both Simmons and Porzingis are in similar situations in which recency bias has their value lower than it should be. They're both two of the most unique, versatile players in the entire NBA but are coming off of disappointing playoff performances.
When their respective teams needed their max contract players to perform, Simmons and Porzingis fell short in the postseason.
Could a chance of scenery be what they both need?
What what most concerning about Simmons and Porzingis in the playoffs was their lack of confidence and aggressiveness. While both players are rising stars, they did not rise under the pressure of the playoffs.
In the case of Simmons, scoring the ball never seemed to be a priority. In fact, during the recent playoffs he only attempted 7.9 shots per contest. At times, he even lacked the confidence to take easy layups.
While he's an excellent passer and facilitator, Simmons has to be more aggressive. This is especially true at the rim, with his 3-point shot being non-existent to this point in his career.
The other concerning thing in the playoffs for Simmons was his free-throw shooting. While he's not a great shooter from the line as it is, he was especially bad in the postseason where he shot just 34.2 percent on 6.1 attempts per game.
When it was all said and done, Simmons finished the 2021 NBA Playoffs with averages of 11.9 points, 8.8 assists and 7.9 rebounds.
Similar to Simmons, Porzingis lacked aggressiveness in the playoffs as well. During Games 5 and 6, he attempted just 13 total shots, which is unacceptable for a player of his caliber.
Additionally, his rebounding numbers were abysmal, especially for a guy who’s 7-3 Through seven playoff games, Porzingis pulled down just 5.4 rebounds per contest.
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What makes Porzingis unique is his ability to stretch the floor at his size. While he hit a few big threes in the Mavericks' lone playoff series, he shot just 29.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Perhaps the most concerning thing about Porzingis' long-term trajectory is his health. In the past three seasons, he's played in just 100 games total. This held Dallas back in the 2020 NBA Playoffs as he missed key games as well as in the 2020-21 regular season where he missed time.
Will he ever be able to stay healthy consistently enough to help the Mavs reach their ceiling?
While both players have their flaws, Simmons and Porzingis have bright futures in the NBA. If the Mavericks and Sixers were to swap the two, both teams would get better in different ways.
Philadelphia would instantly have one of the most unique frontcourts in the entire league. They would have two 7-footers who are able to stretch the floor and knock down jumpers. Additionally, they would be able to run their offense using a more traditional point guard.
With Simmons wanting out, the Sixers have their backs against the wall and are in more of a situation to make a move. Dallas has less of a reason to facilitate a deal like this, but should still explore it.
Adding Simmons to the roster would do a lot for the Mavericks defensively. Their offense has been spectacular over the past few seasons, it's been their defense that's held them back.
Simmons would instantly take them to a new level on that end of the floor as he's perhaps the best perimeter defender in the entire league. With his size and strength, he can literally guard every position on the court at a high level.
While his primary weakness is shooting, Dallas has plenty of perimeter scoring to offset that. Even after being solid from deep the past two seasons, the Mavs added more shooters in free agency.
With Doncic at the helm as the primary ball handler, Simmons could also play more of a natural foward position. While he'd still have the green light to bring the ball up the floor at times, he'd have less weight on his shoulders as the primary offensive initiator.
Simmons would also be an excellent player to keep on the floor with Doncic resting in staggered lineups to ensure production doesn't fall off.
During the 2020-21 season, Porzingis averaged 20.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game while shooting 37.6% from three. Simmons averaged 14.3 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per contest.
The Mavericks tell us, in public and privately, that new coach Jason Kidd is looking forward to working with KP. Good deal. But we’d also hope the Mavs are looking at, well, everything - including the availability of Ben Simmons.