Should The New York Knicks trade for Ben Simmons?

RJ Barrett, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
RJ Barrett, NY Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 4
Ben Simmons, Knicks. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Could Ben Simmons At Center Fit With The New York Knicks?

The only other way Simmons can elevate his game and his team’s success is if he makes the move to center. For a moment consider the parallels of Simmons and Giannis Antetokounmpo, both are giant freak athletes with playmaking chops. Both of them can also anchor a defense. Because both players’ biggest issue is outside shooting, it has increasingly made more sense for these two to embrace being centers. In today’s small-ball and position-less NBA, they can mask their inability to stretch the floor by doing what they already do, command the ball-handling duties, and run the offense with four shooters around them.

Both players are strong rebounders and can protect the rim. By moving to center, opponents will always struggle with their playmaking taking advantage of being surrounded by shooting. Then on defense, they can still have an elite impact.

The Knicks are one of the many teams that still benefit from having a more traditional center. Other teams include the Utah Jazz and Sixers themselves. However, if Simmons commits to being a center and is utilized in that way with the Knicks, it could do wonders. The Knicks have success with Mitchell Robinson and Nerlens Noel. Now, what if those guys could handle the ball like a point guard and run the offense, making their lack of stretching the floor less of a problem? I think if you replaced Simmons with those guys, you can elevate the offense while still maintaining an elite defense.

A decent example of how this could work is revealed when looking at Nikola Jokic with the Denver Nuggets. Sure, Jokic can at least dominate with his scoring and even light it up from three from time to time. But, Denver mostly sees great offensive success because of Jokic’s incredible playmaking at the center position alone. Jokic both as the man in the middle and off of the dribble has the Nuggets offense always working like a well-oiled machine. Simmons’ playmaking talent isn’t far off from Jokic’s, and Simmons is undoubtedly a better athlete and ball handler.

Obviously, with Embiid present, none of this will happen unless the Sixers mover on from Simmons and ship him to a team that doesn’t have a high usage center clogging the paint. If can make his way to such a team and unlock himself in a Jokic style role, it could do wonders for his career, his perception, and the Knicks if they were the ones to trade for him.