Chicago Bulls: Why Ben Simmons would succeed in the Windy City

Zach LaVine, Ben Simmons, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Zach LaVine, Ben Simmons, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bulls may be one trade away from a big three, and it’s all thanks to the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 76ers are one loss away from failing to meet expectations yet again, trailing the Atlanta Hawks 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. For the third summer in a row, speculation has continued to grow around whether or not Philly would part with one of their two stars, trading away either Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid.

If either of the two is to go, it’s far more likely to be the former than the latter. Although at times held back by injuries, Embiid is undoubtedly an MVP-caliber player, finishing second in the award’s voting this season.

Simmons however, has failed to live up to expectations. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft was an extremely hyped prospect when he came into the NBA. Despite making three All-Star appearances since Simmons has disappointed many.

He’s failed to develop a jump shot (career 5-34 from deep) and struggles to score in the playoffs. He’s currently averaging just 11.6 PPG through five games against the Hawks, an embarrassingly low total for a second option.

Despite his shortcomings, plenty of fans are already rallying behind Simmons as a potential trade target for the Bulls this offseason.

They’re absolutely right.

Ben Simmons may have had some horrible moments in Philadelphia, but Chicago has the perfect roster to help him succeed. If the Bulls can make a trade for Simmons and manage to hang on to Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic, they should immediately take the offer.

Simmons does struggle to score anywhere outside of the paint, that’s inarguable. However, in the paint he’s elite.

Simmons is 6-foot-11, but moves like a point guard with the ball in his hands, allowing him to quickly power past smaller guards and finish at the rim.

What all Ben Simmons could bring for the Chicago Bulls

He’s extremely reliant on having open lanes to get to the basket, scoring 76.0 percent of his points in the paint. However, with Embiid clogging the paint, Simmons has had trouble finding the opportunities to attack frequently, shooting only 10.1 field goal attempts per game.

Knowing he can’t shoot, and unable to get to the paint, Simmons has had little opportunity to score.

In Chicago Simmons would have much more space to work with. Vucevic offers much more than Embiid as a spacer, meaning Simmons would have more room to operate inside.

Additionally, Simmons covers LaVine’s flaws perfectly. LaVine is a lacking defender (-1.1 DBPM), while Simmons(+1.9 DBPM) is an absolute superstar on the less glamorous end.

His size and wingspan would make him a strong matchup against point guards that blew past Bulls with ease in 2021. Chicago’s opponents scored 48.9 points in the paint per game, 10th most in the NBA.

Most importantly, the Bulls don’t need him to score. Against Atlanta, it’s become clear that Ben Simmons is not a second-scoring option.

In Philadelphia, that’s caused issues. However, if he accepts the role, Simmons wouldn’t need to score in Chicago.

LaVine and Vucevic are both great in isolation. All Simmons needs to do on offense is act as a secondary ball-handler, run the pick and roll, and take mismatches in the post. Far less than Philly fans expect of him now.

Although he’s not the do-it-all dynamo many hoped he would be when drafted in 2016, Simmons has a lot to offer to a team that is designed to support his play.

Next. 3 Sleeper free agents for the Bulls to target. dark

The 76ers have not been that team, but the Bulls could easily be the perfect destination if the LSU product is traded this summer.