Before the offseason craziness starts, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.
Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato, former CSN columnist John Gonzalez(!) and producer/reporters Matt Haughton, Paul Hudrick and Steven Tydings.
In this edition, we break down a totally, completely fake trade scenario brought up in our newsroom: Would you trade Ben Simmons and the No. 3 overall pick to the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis and the No. 8 pick?
Should the Sixers explore a trade for Kristaps Porzingis if the Knicks entertain offers? Yes. (Basically, every team should.)
Is this the best trade? No.
Ben Simmons has not played in an NBA game. That’s enough reason right there for neither side to make this move.
The Sixers believe they have a very special player in Simmons. They plan to make the 6-foot-10, 2016 first-overall pick the starting point guard next season. If that experiment works, pairing Simmons at the one with a 7-foot-2 center in Joel Embiid who can play away from the basket could cause all sorts of matchup problems and give them a foundation to build around for the future. It is very hard to see the Sixers giving up on that before they even have a chance to try it.
The Knicks, on the other hand, know what Porzingis can do. He averaged 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and shot 35.7 percent from three in his second season. Porzingis is well on his way to becoming a perennial All-Star and the face of the team once they sort out the ongoing Carmelo Anthony saga. If for some reason Simmons didn’t pan out, what would they be left with? There’s no guarantee the Sixers’ third pick becomes a standout player. For the Knicks to trade a proven commodity for unknowns, that’s far too great of a risk.
I was busy wearing Bermuda shorts and high black socks and playing bocci when this email request came in. You know a question is all-caps IMPORTANT for them to drag me out of sunny So-Cal semi-retirement and press me back into word monkey duty for CSN. So I will do my level best here.
It’s close, but Porzingis shoots from distance and also offers some level of rim protection. I could imagine pairing him with Embiid, and the thought makes me smile. He’s also actually played in the NBA. Plus, there are at least two Latvian rap songs about him. If there are any Latvian rap songs about Simmons, someone should bring them to my attention posthaste, because that puts Simmons at a serious disadvantage. Beyond that, I’m not super smitten with anyone after Fultz, which makes moving back from 3 to 8 less of a concern on my end.
I was leaning toward a yes on this one when Aaron Talasnik — otherwise known as Fanboy Aaron from something called The700Level Show — texted me to say even considering the deal was stupid. Aaron has finished last in every fantasy league he’s ever been in — and also life. That was it for me. Do the deal.
One last thing, while I’m here: I hope someone remembered to feed the trolls in the comments section while I’ve been away. Roob, maybe?
I’m not entirely sure where to start. Let’s go with the part where a major portion of Sam Hinkie’s process was to end up with the No. 1 pick. The Sixers would never trade him without having seen him play in a real NBA game.
Additionally, the Sixers wouldn’t trade Ben Simmons to a division rival so he could potentially bludgeon them four times a season for the next decade.
Speaking of the Knicks, I’m almost positive they aren’t ready to give up on Porzingis at this point in time. Sure, there has been some contention with president Phil Jackson, but the Latvian is still New York’s best long-term building block and a big reason butts stay in those expensive seats for every game at Madison Square Garden.
That’s just the probability side. As far as fit goes, I’m not exactly sold on that either for the Sixers.
Of course, adding a talent like Porzingis would benefit the Sixers in some aspect — mainly on defense with great rim protection alongside Joel Embiid. However, the two are very similar offensively. They are both big men that can drive to the rim but prefer to shoot jumpers. Of Embiid’s field goal attempts last season, 56.4 percent came on jump shots. That number was a hefty 64.9 percent for Porzingis.
For a Sixers team that has spent the last several years simply acquiring talent (mainly centers) and was supposed to be moving into the phase of putting the correct pieces of the puzzle together, this seems like a move that counteracts that approach.
So let me get this straight …
The Sixers give up last year's No. 1 overall pick and the No. 3 overall pick this year for another seven-footer — albeit a damn good one — and the No. 8 overall pick?
Yeah, that's gonna be a no for me, dog.
This seems like a trade scenario a Bill Simmons-like Knicks fan conjured up.
Ben Simmons was touted as arguably the best prospect since Kevin Durant. He's been compared to Magic Johnson. Why would you give up on a guy with his pedigree, court vision and overall potential before he's even played an NBA game?
The argument you could make is the known vs. the unknown, but that gives me even more pause. You're not even sure what you have in Simmons. Could you imagine if you trade Simmons to the Knicks and he becomes the next Magic?
Not to mention Porzingis being a bad fit with Embiid.
I could go on, but luckily Vlade Divac is not the Sixers' GM so I can't see this trade happening.
Side note: He may not have a Latvian rap song made in his honor, but Simmons did a start a pretty important movement that a certain semi-retired sports writer seemed to enjoy.
This would be an absolute travesty of a deal for the Sixers.
Before we even go into Simmons' potential impact, which will probably turn into very real impact in the next year or so, let's talk about Embiid. The biggest issue that plagued the Sixers and their fans in recent years were the team's glut of centers, which is still an issue as long as Jahlil Okafor is on the roster. Embiid is clearly their center for the future and it doesn't make sense to trade your biggest non-Embiid asset for what would essentially be Embiid insurance. You have a little of that in Richaun Holmes. It's not like you need a traditional center to survive in the NBA.
But let's talk Simmons, too. He's a very real talent. His court vision and passing are otherworldly. There's a reason he was the No. 1 overall pick. Sure, he missed a year, but Porzingis has dealt with multiple injuries in his career. One of the only ways this deal makes sense is if the Sixers know something medically about Simmons that we don't, and that's something the Knicks would assuredly see in a subsequent physical.
And Porzingis is a disgruntled asset for the Knicks. So why would the Sixers trade the superior asset and give up the better pick in the deal? It'd be different if the Knicks had won the lottery and were ahead of the Sixers right now, although that deal probably doesn't make much sense with Embiid and Porzingis' fit.
If Phil Jackson offered this deal to Bryan Colangelo, the Sixers' GM would first ask if Jackson was serious. When Jackson said that yes, he was serious, Colangelo would have laughed for a full minute and then asked him if he really, really was serious.
Jackson would begrudgingly say yes, at which point Colangelo would tell Jackson he was a doddering old fool before hanging up and laughing for a decade, during which Simmons and Embiid will dominate the NBA.