For the record, the B.S. in the headline of this piece refers to Ben Simmons, not bullshit … gotta keep it family-friendly, even though it’s one and the same. Y’know, kind of like “Let’s Go Brandon” standing in for what we’ll hear at college football stadiums today …
But in that same mindset, who really does need Ben Simmons?
Who needs an entitled, whiny man-child that has dated more women than hit three pointers in his career in Philadelphia?
(That three-pointer number is five, by the way).
I mean, who the hell shows up to practice in sweat pants with their cell phone in the right pocket while ‘practicing’ anyway? Or did he spend the summer learning digital audio recording tricks from D’Angelo Russell’s Laker days?
There are a few teams who could use him – Philadelphia, for instance, could have at least used his defense in the fourth quarter last night. The Brooklyn Nets may not have had a 29-18 comeback had Simmons been there – sans cell phone.
But that’s ‘using’ him – not utilizing him.
The San Antonio Spurs might be the best destination for Simmons. They could ship out Thaddeus Young, Derrick White and Dejounte Murray, but that would cost the Spurs two decent scorers for one who can’t hit anything beyond 22’6” and that might lead to ensuring head coach Gregg Popovich retires after the season.
However, Simmons says he needs therapy and who better to crawl in both his ass and his head than the master of all disciplines of basketball than Popovich. Question is, would he want this headache of migraine proportions? I mean he’s already dealt with the fragile psyche of Kawhi Leonard so that’s a plus on his resume, but doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to do it again.
That leaves the man everyone compared Simmons to when he came out of college (though I shot down the comparisons because this man never went to college) – LeBron Raymone James.
Russell Westbrook had a solid night last night, back to his old triple-double mentality, missing it by one assist. Could he be trade bait for Simmons?
Possibly a return to Philadelphia for Dwight Howard, who still hasn’t realized he’s a scrub on the Lakers (again), this time sitting behind Antonio Davis.
Could last night’s altercation have been his second ticket out of Tinseltown? Send him back to Philly along with Westbrook (since the 76ers aren’t getting Damian Lillard anyway), and let’s see Howard try and start that shit with Joel Embiid.
In all seriousness, though, I would think that Simmons would fare better under James’ leadership than anywhere else in the league (except maybe San Antonio). Any trade to the other 27 teams in the league (or remaining in Philadelphia) would be an exile for Simmons – dumping dead weight quicker than you can say Big Pussy or Tony Soprano.
(And no I’m not trying to denigrate Simmons with the aforementioned Sopranos reference, though I’m sure ‘Big Pussy’ has been used in a different context already, right in his own city, maybe even locker room).
James would demand better performance from Simmons, as well as teach him to not only be a better player, but a better man. Turning around a Ben Simmons would be the final stamp on a legacy where James has made players better in his latter years, which he has.
Sure there are those that would accuse the Lakers and LeBron again of putting together another SuperTeam … but wouldn’t Simmons have to be super for that to be true? James could make that happen.
He needs to be saved before he becomes the next Delonte West … wait, I’m sorry, that wasn’t fair to West; he hit 221 three-pointers in his first four years, not five …
And the therapy angle? Well, let’s just say that Markelle Fultz therapy sessions in Philly didn’t fare well for him … so maybe Orlando for Simmo the Savage?
All I know is the entitlement factor has to go way down, the humility needs to go way up, and even then, it’s a crapshoot. I’d take Royce White over Simmons at this point.
Where do you think Ben Simmons should land? San Antonio? L.A.? A trash heap?
Sound off in the comments at the bottom of this piece, or hit me up on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia.
|INDIANA PACERS 134||WASHINGTON WIZARDS 135 (OT)|
|Myles Turner – 40 points
Myles Turner – 10 rebounds
Malcolm Brogdon – 8 assists
|Spencer Dinwiddie – 34 points
Kyle Kuzma – 11 rebounds
Spencer Dinwiddie – 9 assists
The Indiana Pacers scored the last six points of regulation to send the game into overtime … but it wasn’t enough, as the Washington Wizards went to 2-0 after outscoring Indiana 12-11 in the extra period. The Wizards were without Bradley Beal due to a hip injury. Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Kuzma combined for 60 points to overcome a strong game by Myles Turner. Dinwiddie had 34 points, while Kuzma has been a beast in DC, notching 26 and 11 last night.
The 0-2 mark for Indiana is a tough pill to swallow, after two solid outings to begin the season, but just not enough as new head coach Rick Carlisle works to get his rotations down pat. Turner hit for 40 and 10, while Domantas Sabonis finished with 28 and nine, and Malcolm Brogdon added 28, eight, and eight.
Heat at Pacers – Today
Wizards at Nets – Monday
|NEW YORK KNICKS 121||ORLANDO MAGIC 96|
|Julius Randle – 21 points
Julius Randle – 10 rebounds
Alec Burks, Derrick Rose, Julius Randle – 7 assists
|Franz Wagner – 16 points
Wendell Carter – 11 rebounds
Jalen Suggs – 8 assists
Yes, your New York Knicks are 2-0 in this young season, thanks to the continued strong play of last year’s Most Improved Player, Julius Randle. The former Kentucky Wildcat went off on the Magic on the road for 21 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Alec Burks and Derrick Rose matched Randle in assists, as the team finished with 34 dimes to Orlando’s 24, making the win seem like an evening cruise, thanks to a franchise record 24 three-pointers.
Seven Knicks ended up in double digit scoring, as Evan Fournier had 18 points, Immanuel Quickley finished with 16 in 19 minutes, Obi Toppin had 13, Burks and Rose ended the night with 12 apiece, and Kemba Walker had 11 on the night.
Rookie Franz Wagner led Orlando with 16 points, Mo Bamba dropped in 15, Jalen Suggs had 14, Terence Ross chipped in 12 from the bench, and it was 10 apiece for Cole Anthony and Wendell Carter in the loss.
Magic at Knicks – Sunday
|CHARLOTTE HORNETS 123||CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 112|
|Miles Bridges – 30 points
Mason Plumlee – 14 rebounds
Gordon Hayward – 9 assists
|Collin Sexton – 33 points
Kevin Love – 11 rebounds
Ricky Rubio – 10 assists
Head coach James Borrego might be onto something here as the Charlotte Hornets are 2-0 in this young season, with a young lineup. For the second straight game, the stat leaders are a mixture of names, and not just LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward.
Miles Bridges got into the mix last night, leading the Hornets to the road win in Cleveland by dropping 30 points on the Cavaliers. Kelly Oubre, Jr. made his presence felt with 25 points on nine 0f 13 shooting, while Hayward and Ball finished the night with 18 and 17, respectively.
Cleveland began to look semi-respectable, dropping 89 points through thee, but fell off in a 33-23 fourth, Charlotte’s advantage. Collin Sexton led all scorers with 33 points, while Ricky Rubio, Evan Mobley, Lauri Markkanen, and Jarrett Allen all finished in the teens.
Hawks at Cavaliers – Today
Hornets at Nets – Sunday
|TORONTO RAPTORS 115||BOSTON CELTICS 83|
|Scottie Barnes – 25 points
Precious Achiuwa – 15 rebounds
Fred VanVleet – 9 assists
|Jayson Tatum – 18 points
Al Horford – 11 rebounds
Marcus Smart – 5 assists
Toronto picked up it’s first win at the expense of the suddenly 0-2 Boston Celtics, with a convincing 32 point margin in Beantown of all places. Yes, the hallowed Garden, where many more championship banners hang than in Scotiabank Arena. Maybe that was the Raptors’ impetus, to get more so theirs doesn’t look like a mud flap in the rafters.
Rookie Scottie Barnes led the way with 25 points and 13 rebounds, taking the early lead for Rookie of the Year honors. Gary Trent, Jr. added 20, Precious Achiuwa went for 15 points and 15 boards, O.G. Anunoby had 14, and it was 11 points apiece for both Chris Boucher and Fred VanVleet.
Jaylen Brown exhausted all his efforts in Game One, only netting nine points last night in the loss. The Celtics were led by Jayson Tatum’s humble 18 point performance. #VFL Josh Richardson had a dozen, and Al Horford finished with 11 and 11, noting why Danny Ainge moved on without him a couple years back.
The New York Knicks are atop the Division that the Celtics should be.
Mavericks at Raptors – Today
Celtics at Rockets – Sunday
|BROOKLYN NETS 114||PHILADELPHIA 76ERS 109|
|Kevin Durant – 29 points
Kevin Durant – 15 rebounds
Kevin Durant – 12 assists
|Seth Curry, Tobias Harris – 23 points
Andre Drummond – 10 rebounds
Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris – 4 assists
The Philadelphia 76ers rock-a-bye babied the Brooklyn Nets nearly to sleep in last night’s game and just about stole their second win of the season, taking a 91-85 lead into the fourth quarter without the services of Ben Simmons.
However, the Nets woke up and cracked the 76ers’ hopes with a 29-18 fourth quarter to come back and net their first win, leaving both teams with a 1-1 start this week. Kevin Durant led all scorers with a triple double of 29 points, 15 rebounds, and 12 assists. James Harden chipped in 20, seven, and eight, while LaMarcus Aldridge was all heart with his 23 point performance.
#VFL Tobias Harris and Seth Curry each popped for 23 points in Philly’s courageous effort. Joel Embiid finished with 19 and eight, while Tyrese Maxey had 15 and Furkan Korkmaz added 10 points.
Hornets at Nets – Sunday
Sixers at Thunder – Sunday
|NEW ORLEANS PELICANS 112||CHICAGO BULLS 128|
|Brandon Ingram – 26 points
Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas – 8 rebounds
Brandon Ingram – 8 assists
|Zach LaVine – 32 points
Lonzo Ball – 10 rebounds
Lonzo Ball – 10 assists
The improvements that Lonzo Ball has made over the summer have to have left the New Orleans Pelicans feeling foolish for not having reinvested more in the young man. Not only did he assassinate his former team from downtown in the 36-point pre-season blowout, but he shanked them again last night with a 17 point, 10 rebound, 10 assist triple double to go along with Zach LaVine’s 32 points, and 26 from DeMar DeRozan.
New Orleans countered with Brandon Ingram leading the team with 26 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists in what amounted to another double digit loss this week. Devonte’ Graham added 21 points, and Nickeal Alexander-Walker finished with 15 points. The Bulls ran out to a 65 point first half compared with New Orleans’ 47. The Pelicans mimicked the Bulls first half by putting together 65 in the second, but the Bulls already had the margin and dropped another 63 in the second half.
Pelicans at Timberwolves – Today
Pistons at Bulls – Today
|OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 91||HOUSTON ROCKETS 124|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 13 points
Aleksej Pokusevski – 7 rebounds
Luguentz Dort – 4 assists
|Christian Wood – 31 points
Christian Wood, Jae’Sean Tate – 14 rebounds
Kevin Porter – 9 assists
The Oklahoma City Thunder handing the keys to the team to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander brings about shuddering memories of when my grandparents told me they had bought me a Ford Mustang, but showed up in a 1970 Ford Maverick that had no fewer than six colors. So, I feel for Gilgeous-Alexander. The Thunder never stood a chance last night, shooting only 37 percent and losing every quarter of last night’s affair in Houston.
Gilgeous-Alexander only hit for a team high 13 points, Kenrich Williams added 12 points, and Alexsej Pokusevski ended the night with a paltry 10 points and seven rebounds.
On the other hand, the Houston Rockets are quickly becoming Christian Wood’s team, which is nice since Wood didn’t start making his way in the NBA until his eight-game run with the New Orleans Pelicans back in the 2018-19 season. Wood led all scorers and rebounders for the second straight game, this time with 31 and 14 on the night. Eric Gordon finished with 22, and Jae’Sean Tate ended with 16 and 14.
Sixers at Thunder – Sunday
Celtics at Rockets – Sunday
|SAN ANTONIO SPURS 96||DENVER NUGGETS 102|
|Keldon Johnson – 27 points
Dejounte Murray – 9 rebounds
Derrick White – 8 assists
|Nikola Jokic – 32 points
Nikola Jokic – 16 rebounds
Nikola Jokic – 7 assists
Nikola Jokic is proving to the world that his MVP Award last season wasn’t a fluke, dropping 32 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists on the visiting San Antonio Spurs last night to get the Denver Nuggets to 2-0. Monte Morris added 13, Will Barton chipped onm 12, and JaMychal Green added 10 off the bench.
Keldon Johnson led San Antonio with 27 points, Derrick White had 16, while it was 15 points apiece for both Jakob Poeltl and Dejounte Murray. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich called Jokic “a seven foot Larry Bird type of guy.” For the record, Bird never had to use the Euro-step.
Bucks at Spurs – Today
Cavaliers at Nuggets – Monday
|UTAH JAZZ 110||SACRAMENTO KINGS 101|
|Donovan Mitchell – 27 points
Rudy Gobert – 20 rebounds
Donovan Mitchell – 4 assists
|Harrison Barnes – 25 points
Harrison Barnes – 15 rebounds
Tyrese Haliburton – 6 assists
The Utah Jazz got their second win in as many games last night in Sacramento by taking a lackluster first half performance and turning it into a 64-point clinic on the Kings to net the road victory. Donovan Mitchell led all scorers with 27 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Rudy Gobert finished with a strong 17 and 20, Mike Conley matched the 17 points by Gobert. Jordan Clarkson came off the bench for 15, and Bojan Bogdanovic added 13 points and five rebounds.
The Jazz were in step in the second half with impressive bursts of 6-0, 10-0, then finishing on a high note, securing the win with a 15-6 closeout run.
Sacramento opened with a decent 52-46 first half but fell off big in the second half. Harrison Barnes was strong at 25 points and 15 rebounds, Buddy Hield went for 24 and seven off the bench, while Tyrese Haliburton added 15, and De’Aaron Fox had a quiet 12, to go along with five assists and five steals.
Warriors at Kings – Sunday
Nuggets at Jazz – Tuesday
|PHOENIX SUNS 115||LOS ANGELES LAKERS 105|
|Chris Paul – 23 points
Deandre Ayton – 15 rebounds
Chris Paul – 14 assists
|LeBron James – 25 points
Anthony Davis – 14 rebounds
Russell Westbrook – 9 assists
Lost in all the confusion of blaming Russell Westbrook’s opening night performance, and the squabbling between Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers are winless in October 2021, counting the pre-season games and two embarrassing losses on their home floor at the Staples Center.
They told Westbrook to go home and watch a comedy to let things go; it looks like he binge-watched Jason Statham’s ‘Transporter’ series, missing a triple double by one assist, going off for 15 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists, even bringing back the rock-a-bye baby move (though Devin Booker brought it right back in mockery).
LeBron James led the Lakers with 25 points, while Davis added 22, Carmelo Anthony 16, and of course, Russ’ near-triple double. But it wasn’t enough for the Lakers, who seem to have been mastered by the Phoenix Suns of late.
Chris Paul led his team with 23 points and 14 assists and is now over 20,000 points in NBA annals, along with 10,299 assists. Booker bounced back from an awful opening night to net 22 points, Mikal Bridges added 21, and Jae Crowder finished with 13 and six. Deandre Ayton pulled down 15 rebounds on an active night, hopefully getting the attention of General Manager James Jones.
Maybe LeBron should promote his Calm app amongst his teammates. Movies aren’t working … especially not for Alec Baldwin.
Suns at Trailblazers – Today
Grizzlies at Lakers – Sunday
Tracy Graven is the Senior NBA Analyst for BackSportsPage.com.
He has written the NBA, done NBA Radio, and appeared as a guest for the last 21+ years for HoopsWorld, Swish Magazine, HoopsHype, the Coach Scott Fields Show, NBARadioShow.com, and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and will be pinch-hitting on some Major League Baseball coverage for BackSportsPage.
He’s spent 21 years in locker rooms in Orlando, Boise (CBA, G League), San Antonio, Phoenix, Denver, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta.
A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in SEC Country near Knoxville, Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia
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