Just a few years ago, point guard Ben Simmons was seen as one of the best young players in the entire league.
Over his first four seasons in the league, the Australian averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game. There were some deficiencies in his game, but those were mainly overlooked because of his incredible playmaking and defensive skills.
Cut to present day, and it seems like Simmons now has absolutely no value around the league in any potential trade.
1. Ben Simmons has no value around the league right now in any potential deal.
2. If the Nets decide to move KD — their return would be greater this summer than it would be before Thursday’s trade deadline.
— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) February 6, 2023
It’s been a sad fall from grace for Simmons, and much of his fall in value likely has to do with the ugly ending to his time with the Philadelphia 76ers, who drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
He didn’t play a single game for the team during the 2021-22 campaign. His last game with the 76ers came during the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks.
Simmons infamously passed up a wide-open shot near the end of Game 7 of that series, which the 76ers went on to lose.
This season with the Nets, the three-time All-Star is recording 7.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.4 assists per contest while making 56.6 percent of his shots from the field.
While those numbers are pretty solid, Simmons doesn’t look at all like the player that was named Rookie of the Year in 2018 and made one All-NBA team and two All-Defensive teams earlier in his career. People have taken note of his play this season and continuously ripped him for it.
The 26-year-old has a chance to step things up and be a leader for the Nets now that they’re without superstar Kyrie Irving, who was dealt to the Dallas Mavericks over the weekend.
Brooklyn still holds one of the top seeds in the Eastern Conference, as it currently sits in fourth place with a 32-20 record. Kevin Durant is still out as he recovers from an MCL sprain, so the Nets are surely hoping that Simmons can step up and help the squad maintain pace in the playoff race.
Perhaps a new role is exactly what Simmons needs to prove to people that he still has what it takes to be an impactful player in the league.