The Orlando Magic went full rebuild at the trade deadline when they traded away Nikola Vučević, Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier. The team looks to be building towards the future and around the young corps of Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac and R.J. Hampton. If the whole team can remain healthy, they could be a borderline playoff team as-is in the wide-open Eastern Conference. Ben Simmons has been one player that has been rumored to be on his way out of Philadelphia, could he be on the way to Orlando? Would his addition help the team reach the playoffs?
When the 2020 NBA trade deadline arrived, the Magic cleared house. Jon Isaac and Markelle Fultz continued to deal with injuries so it looked like there was no hope in Orlando. However, the teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff teams are the ones that just stumbled into the postseason. When healthy, the current Orlando Magic roster will be fighting to be a fringe playoff team. Lucky for them there’s a star who may be available by way of trade come this offseason.
After a disappointing run with the Philadelphia 76ers, Ben Simmons may be on the trade block. Could he help bring the Orlando Magic back to the playoffs?
Ben Simmons has been a core piece for the Philadelphia 76ers for the last four seasons. Ever since he was drafted first overall, there have been high hopes for Simmons. Even though there are significant holes in his offensive game, most notably his lack of willingness to shoot 3-pointers or jump shots of any kind and his significantly below-average free-throw shooting, he can help a team greatly on the defensive end.
His recent playoff struggles have led many to believe he’ll be available in the offseason and teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves have already been inquiring about his status. Should Simmons actually be on the trade block, the Orlando Magic absolutely need to make an offer.
The three-time All-Star has been very valuable to the 76ers. He’s the primary ball-handler and facilitator when on the court and is a firm defensive anchor. The Defensive Player of the Year finalist can guard five positions because of his pure size and athletic ability. In his four seasons of play, he’s averaged 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game on 56 percent shooting from the field.
In Orlando, Simmons would no longer be the “big guard” that he’s been in Philadelphia. With his former 76ers teammate, Markelle Fultz, running the point, it’ll allow the offense to take the ball out of Simmons’ hands and let him play off the ball for a majority of his minutes. He’ll be back to his natural position of playing the four in a potential lineup of Markelle Fultz, R.J. Hampton, Jonathan Isaac, Ben Simmons and Mo Bamba/Wendell Carter Jr. The addition of Simmons would add another element to the team’s offensive game and will allow for different rotations and mismatches, especially if he runs the floor as the primary ball-handler with the second unit.
In addition to the new offensive talent that was added, the defense would improve greatly as well. Having a frontcourt of Jon Isaac and Ben Simmons would make the Magic a defensive juggernaut. In 2020, the Orlando Magic had a defensive rating of 112.7, meaning the team allowed 112.7 points per 100 possessions, which was the eighth-worst in the NBA.
The addition of Simmons and the return of Isaac would drastically change that and allow for the Magic to be one of the more respectable defensive teams in the NBA. It would also help bring a new look to Orlando basketball under the new coaching regime and would help accelerate the rebuild. If Simmons does end up in Orlando, it’s safe to say that they are a surefire playoff team on paper.