Growing Impatience with Simmons Saga

The series of unfortunate events surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers organization and Ben Simmons have headlined Philadelphia’s 2021-2022 regular season. The amount of discussions and arguments within social media about this topic are justified. It’s only natural for the casual fan to get upset and impatient. Considering Simmons’ devastating struggles in last year’s playoffs, the way this tough situation is unfolding, and the lack of action from the 76ers’ front office. 

Clearly, Ben Simmons’ representatives, as well as the anxious Sixers fanbase want the all-star to be traded elsewhere. Many names, some more realistic than others, have been brought up over the last few months. Players such as Portland’s Damian Lillard, Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox, and the point of discussion today: San Antonio’s Dejoute Murray. 

Dejounte Murray By The Numbers

Dejounte Murray is having his best statistical season in his six-year NBA career. On the season, he’s averaging 18.2 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, and 8.9 assists per game, which are all career-high marks. These statistical improvements were expected as San Antonio views Murray as their first scoring option. 

Additionally, Dejounte’s passing and playmaking skills are at their peak this season. As previously mentioned, the Spurs guard is averaging a career-high 8.9 assists, while assisting an estimated 43.3% of his teammate’s field goals. Moreover, the San Antonio guard is involved in 25.3% (career-high) of the Spurs’ offensive possessions, while on the floor. Also, the Spurs score 4.1 more points per 100 possessions when Murry is in the game. All in all, Dejounte’s scoring ability, playmaking, and passing serve the Spurs well.

Murray’s Inefficiency 

However, Dejounte Murray’s noticeable inefficiency is a red flag, if you will. The San Antonio guard is attempting 17.3 shots per game, which is the most in his career. This increase in shot volume is because of his heightened role in San Antonio’s offense. By the numbers, Murray is shooting an underwhelming 34.3% from beyond the arc on 4.1 attempts per game.

In addition to this, Dejounte’s effective-field goal percentage is 48.2%, and this is 4.1% below the league average. Another issue is Murray’s lack of free throw attempts. For someone who attacks the rim as much as Dejounte, he should be averaging more than 2.2 free-throw attempts. To boot, his true-shooting percentage is only 49.9%, which is 5.8% below the NBA average. An increase in trips to the foul line would certainly better his inefficient percentage.

Mock Trade

Ultimately, neither team would be interested in this mock trade for a multitude of reasons. For the Spurs, they view Dejounte Murray as their guy, so this trade would be difficult to pull off without giving up more assets. As for the 76ers, this deal wouldn’t significantly raise their ceiling. Also, team president Daryl Morey won’t trade Simmons for anything less than an all-star, and he has a strict list of players in mind. But, for the sake of this article let’s look at what each team would get out of this significant deal. 

San Antonio Receives

The San Antonio Spurs organization lacks a a definitive sense of direction. San Antonio is stuck in mediocrity, as they are fighting for a play-in spot, while they’re in need of a rebuild.

What Simmons Would Bring

With this trade, 3x all-star and last year’s runner up for DPOY Ben Simmons would be the face of this franchise. Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich has always admired the talents of Ben Simmons, and the organization showed interest in him this past offseason. Without a doubt, San Antonio would benefit from Simmons’ many under-appreciated abilities on both ends of the floor. Obviously, Simmons elite capability to push the pace in transition with this young Spurs squad, would be terrific. As well as his skilled means as a facilitator and court vision for finding open teammates.

With the amount of shooters San Antonio has such as Doug Mcdermott, Derrick White, Bryn Forbes, and more Simmons would thrive offensively. On the other end, Coach Popovich would love Ben’s defensive talents. Furthermore, Simmons’ on-ball perimeter defense is arguably the best in the NBA. What’s more, is his ability to guard multiple possessions is a huge luxury most teams do not have.

In addition to Simmons, the Spurs would also get the recent 28th pick Jaden Springer. The rookie guard is known for his defensive abilities, and he could develop nicely under Gregg Popovich’s care. Seemingly, Springer is a “3 and D” player, who can also finish at the rim. Undoubtedly, Jaden Springer would be a solid addition to San Antonio’s young core.  

Philadelphia Receives

The Philadelphia 76ers and their fanbase would finally be relived of the burden that is this Ben Simons situation. As previously stated, this potential trade wouldn’t make Philadelphia legit contenders, nor make them better in the long-term, but it would improve the team nonetheless. 

What Murray Would Bring

Dejounte Murray has a similar skillset to Ben Simmons in terms of passing, playmaking, rebounding, and high-level perimeter defense. Last night, Philadelphia saw how effective Dejounte can be in their win against the San Antonio Spurs. Statistically, Murray led the team with 27 points, 9 assists, and 3 steals. As you can see, the Spurs’ guard could be labeled as a traditional point guard. Without question, the 76ers could benefit from Dejounte’s abilities as a primary ball-handler to play-make and facilitate.

Not to mention, Dejounte Murray can execute pick-and-rolls, as well as pick-and-pops at a very high-level. This could be put to great use with Philadelphia’s star center Joel Embiid. A potential two-man game between Dejounte and Embiid sounds amazing. You combine Embiid’s elite screen setting and post skills with Murray’s rim pressure and mid-range shooting, its’ dangerous. 

Also, the Philadelphia 76ers would acquire veteran forward Thaddeus Young. As most of you know, Young played for the Sixers from 2007-2014. The San Antonio forward provides a great locker-room presence, playmaking, and defense. However, Thad Young isn’t an ideal fit with the 76ers, and he’s making a hefty $14 million. If this trade were to go through, Morey would most likely ship him off to another team, or include a third-team in this dea.