There’s no question the Sixers’ triumvirate of stars are an imperfect fit.
We knew that when Elton Brand pulled the trigger on the Jimmy Butler trade. Simmons’ unwillingness to take open jump shots shrinks the floor and allows defenders to sag off of him to double Joel Embiid and pay more attention to Butler.
With that said, the idea of trading Ben Simmons right now is absolutely insane.
There was (understandable) frustration over Simmons not having an impactful game against the Celtics on Christmas day. Then again, this always seems to happen when the Sixers play Boston or another elite team and Simmons struggles.
Simmons is 22 years old and could be on the cusp of his first All-Star game in his second NBA season. He’s flawed, but he’s way too talented and way too young to even entertain a trade at this point.
Let’s be real, everyone knew Butler was not an ideal fit with Embiid and Simmons. So why make the trade? Because Brand viewed it as a chance to land a star, something that doesn’t come along often, as the Sixers are painfully aware. So now that you have a budding superstar in Simmons, you’re just going to turn around and trade him? Yeah, no.
Other than Simmons’ age, the infancy of Butler’s tenure makes the idea even crazier. Butler has played 19 games with Simmons. The trio of Simmons, Butler and Joel Embiid has played in just 18 games — the team is 13-5 in those contests, by the way — and 322 minutes of actual game action. The Sixers’ starting lineup as it is currently constructed has the second-best net rating among any five-man lineup in the NBA with at least 150 minutes played together.