One big reason the Philadelphia 76ers balked at a trade for James Harden was their belief in the development of Ben Simmons, who the Rockets were requiring in a Harden trade. But as Paul Pierce sees it, Simmons hasn’t developed much at all over the last couple seasons and the time is coming where he just is what he is.
Through 13 games played this season, Simmons is averaging a career-low 12.3 points per game. He’s holding steady at eight assists per game, in line with his career average, and his rebound numbers are up a tick, but The Truth says Simmons hasn’t advanced enough at now 24 years old, to hold the value the Sixers placed on him by refusing to include him in a Harden deal.
Paul was asked whether the 76ers, who despite Simmons’ modest numbers sit atop the East through 15 games, have eclipsed Boston as an Eastern Conference Finals contender, and the 2008 Finals MVP said Simmons is what is holding Philly back from taking that leap.
“Until Ben Simmons makes that next jump, I don’t think so. We’ve seen Tatum get better. We’ve seen Jaylen Brown get better. Kemba is going to come back healthy. I really don’t see the gap closing right there,” Paul said.
Watch The Truth, Matt Barnes and Rachel Nichols talk about Simmons, the Doc Rivers effect on the Sixers, and expectations for the Nets’ big three tonight. And watch the Jump, weekdays at 3 p.m. on ESPN.