“Last time on Ben Simmons Trade Rumors” feels like a soap opera that is running out of interesting material at this point. On Tuesday, a new rumor emerged. This time, NBA insider Ian Begley of SNY authored the news:
League sources confirm that the Pacers are among the teams who have talked to the Philadelphia 76ers about a potential Simmons trade. Caris LeVert was among the players brought up in those communications, per SNY sources.
It is unknown if talks between Philadelphia and Indiana have progressed beyond run-of-the-mill contact. [SNY]
That connection with the Pacers seems to have developed over time. In early July, the Sixers were reportedly in discussions with Indiana, but it was for a different Pacer. Indiana’s backcourt depth features two guards that would help fill some glaring holes for the Sixers. The problem is that both LeVert and Brogdon consistently miss time due to injury.
LeVert was traded to Indiana as part of the James Harden deal. That trade, many argue, saved his life. During his physical, doctors discovered a mass on his left kidney. Later in January, he underwent an operation to combat renal cell carcinoma on that kidney.
LeVert’s quick recovery — which enabled him to play games towards the end of last season — is certainly inspirational and nothing short of a great story. However, let’s look at his production as a player.
LeVert’s career efficiency around the rim vacillates within a range of mid-50 to mid-60 percentages. Aside from a strong rookie season in Brooklyn in that category, he ranks in slightly-above average percentile around the rim. Aside from his last two seasons in Brooklyn, he was well below league average as a three-point shooter. Things don’t get much better on mid-range jumpers, either. For his career, LeVert has never connected on better than 44 percent of his mid-rangers. Beyond that, LeVert is a low-40s shooter on pull-up jumpers.
The one relatively positive component to his scoring repertoire is that his career free throw rate pushes 25 percent. So, he gets to the line a decent amount for a guard. But relative to other Sixers, that’s a few ticks better than Tobias Harris’ rate. One of the more common gripes with Harris’ game is that he doesn’t get to the line nearly enough.
He’s perhaps a bit underrated as a playmaker, as he has a career assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.05:1. That’s workable for a wing.
The defensive side of the ball isn’t much better, either. His teams get outscored by 6 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor, and he’s never had a positive net rating. You would be justified in asserting that perhaps that’s a product of his teams having bad defenses, in general. That’s fair. But, his defensive rating has yet to break below 110 through five seasons.
LeVert averages 14.1 points per game for his career. But, evidently he does it on low efficiency. So, what you have is a guard that puts up empty calories on bad teams. Perhaps you get a different player when he’s the third option or a Sixth Man, but that’s not a selling point in a Simmons trade.