Ben Simmons has decided he wants to move on from the Philadelphia 76ers and find a new place to play in the upcoming season. Simmons is only 25 and is already a two-time All-Star, checking a number of boxes as a player thanks to his playmaking and elite defense. Of course, Simmons’ offensive shortcomings as a shooter are well-documented, but he does so many other things well on the basketball court.
Now, imagine if you paired those skills with Charlotte Hornets youngster LaMelo Ball. The two would instantly become one of the best duos in the league and would have plenty of time to grow with one another.
Here are a few reasons why a Ben Simmons trade makes perfect sense for the Hornets.
3. Multiple top playmakers
LaMelo Ball has already shown that he is one of the best playmakers in the league. He instantly elevated his teammates after he was drafted third overall in 2020. Ben Simmons is also an elite passer who creates plenty of great looks for his teammates.
Having two pass-first point guards could be the key to success for the Hornets’ offense. There would surely be a lot of ball movement and easy looks for everyone on the floor, with these two able to wreak havoc in transition as well.
Think about the Brooklyn Nets and how they have Kyrie Irving and James Harden in their backcourt. The two are exceptional playmakers and showed they could take turns running the offense. Those two are obviously both great shooters as well, which helps their cause immensely, but this would still be an ideal blueprint to follow for Charlotte if the franchise acquired Simmons.
It wouldn’t really matter who the actual point guard is, because having multiple elite ball handlers would lift up the Hornets’ offense. Hornets head coach James Borrego could also stagger the two stars a lot if he wants to maximize their point guard skills.
2. Elite young duo
We see stars pair up later on in their careers when they are in their prime. We do not see it happen as often for younger players in the league. Most of the time an NBA team would have to draft well to be lucky enough to have two supremely talented young guys on their team.
The Hornets are in a position to trade for one without having to give up LaMelo Ball in the process. Having two young guys go through their careers together would help them jell and figure each other out. Sure, egos are a little larger when people are younger, but pairing two unselfish players together could be perfect.
After a few years, Simmons and Ball could see themselves in multiple All-Star Games while transforming the Hornets into a contender in the Eastern Conference.
1. Hornets become long-term contenders
The Eastern Conference has become more competitive over the years, but it is still not as tough as its Western Conference counterpart. The Hornets could find themselves as a lock for the playoffs year after year if they traded for Simmons. Maybe in a few seasons, we could even see them reaching an Eastern Conference Finals and stamping their names among the elite teams in their conference. Simmons and Ball are really that good.
All the Hornets would have to do is surround them with shooters, cultivate the young talent left over after the trade, and possibly find a third star. The ceiling of this team could be ridiculous with two gifted point guards leading the roster. Chemistry would be built between the two and the rest of the club, as long as they continue to fill it out with pieces that make sense. The Hornets are not exactly a hot spot for free agents, but they could slowly turn into one if that duo were to turn this franchise around.
Unfortunately, productive pieces from the Hornets would have to move in order for the 76ers to get good compensation back for their young star. Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier could be intriguing options to help Philly win now. Those two led the Hornets in scoring last season and provided the veteran leadership they needed.
Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington are also trade chips. Bridges took a big leap last season and is set to break out this year, while Washington would fit nicely in Philly’s frontcourt.
Both teams would benefit from the trade either way. Ben Simmons gets that fresh start he desires, and the 76ers get more talented players to complement Joel Embiid’s game as they hope to get closer to winning a championship.