What Type Of Impact Can Ben Simmons Have Playing Off The Ball?
As the 76ers prepare to return to play with their new lineup featuring Ben Simmons in a new role, there is precedent for NBA teams having success moving players who were the primary ball handlers to a new position off the ball. Most famously in Philadelphia, when the Sixers moved Allen Iverson to the Shooting Guard position and installed Eric Snow as the team's starting Point Guard, the 76ers reached the NBA Finals and Iverson won the NBA MVP Award. The 2011-12 NBA season marked the first year Mario Chalmers started every game at Point Guard for the Miami Heat which gave LeBron James more freedom off the ball en route to winning his first NBA Title while LeBron won the regular season and NBA Finals MVP Awards. During Magic Johnson's first four seasons in the NBA, he played along side All-Star Point Guard Norm Nixon while the Lakers won two NBA Titles and Magic won the NBA Finals MVP both years.
NBA Insider Brandon "Scoop B" Robinson joined Josh Hennig on Tuesday discussing a different angle on how the Sixers can benefit from moving Ben Simmons to play off the ball:
"When people talk about Ben Simmons moving to the Four Position, to me it is similar to how Allen Iverson moved to the Two (Position) with Eric Snow starting at the Point Guard....and the Sixers went to the (NBA) Finals that year that Allen Iverson shifted to (Shooting Guard). 2001 NBA Finals, although they lost to the Lakers, I think that people really saw that Allen Iverson could move off the ball and just be a 'Pure Scorer'. - When I look at Ben Simmons, he's a 6'10" guy that can contort his shoulders to get any shot he wants to....(Joel) Embiid and (Ben) Simmons off the ball can cause some havoc because if you look at the Eastern Conference, you have some mismatches. - You're using (Ben Simmons) to literally be like Magic Johnson in the 1980 NBA Finals when Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) was out and making him a scorer. If I'm other teams, particularly the Eastern Conference teams like the Boston Celtics, I am a little scared of that."
Hear what Robinson had to say about the NBA Bubble, perspective on Matisse Thybulle, LeBron James' influence on Ben Simmons, and more