NBA News & Predictions

DeMar DeRozan
Photo: NBA

Even though important NBA news has been lacking, there are a lot of rumors running around the mill.

People are starting to talk about DeMar DeRozαn’s future with the San Antonio Spurs. And Ben Simmons is another conversation topic…he needs to play better, period.

It comes down to this, the Spurs are +7 without DeRozαn on the floor and -6 with him playing. Plus, this is the last season on his contract and he’ll probably want a big payday when re-signing.

Teams, like the Orlando Magic, have expressed some interest in him, so should the Spurs trade him away? It is in interesting meditation.

Right now, betting sites have the Spurs at +5000 (50 to 1) to win the Western Conference, that’s well below the Lakers and the Clippers, the Rockets, the Jazz, the Nuggets, the Mavericks, and even the Trail Blazers.

So, it’s not like the Spurs are top contenders with DeMar DeRozan. So, maybe, it is time they get what they can out of him.

DeMar Derozan
Photo: Twitter/San Antonio Spurs

DeMar is a defensive liability. The problems that San Antonio are having this season stem from the defensive side of the court.

They are No. 7 in scoring offense, and DeMar is the Spurs leading scorer, so it isn’t like he’s a bad player. But, even putting up points into the twenties each night, it’s still questionable as to whether he makes the Spurs any better.

The math suggests that he does not. With young talents, like Lonnie Walker and Brent Forbes, on the roster, the question needs to be asked. Defensively, he’s soft, and it’s a big part of why the Spurs are net -6 with him on the floor.

So, who would take him? The Detroit Pistons? The Magic? They don’t really have any extra picks to give away. What about the Atlanta Hawks? They have the cap space and picks, but it does not seem like the direction they are going with their free players.

It will be interesting to see what happens with DeRozan, as the season goes on.

DeMar DeRozan
Photo:Darren Abate/AP

Ben Better Get Better

Ben Simmons has been kind of a great hope for the Philadelphia 76ers over the last couple of years.

He was looked at as a young player – especially as a rookie– as a super talent with an extremely high ceiling. It was like, ‘man as this guy matures over the next couple of seasons, he’s going to be great!

But, he has not got any better. In fact, he may be getting worse. Well, I should not say that as a definitive, because he has got a bit better on the defensive side of things, but let’s look at his basic stats.

His rookie year, he averaged, basically, 16 points (15.8) and 8.2 assists per game, along with 8.1 rebounds in 33.7 minutes of action.

OK, so as a rookie, it’s like ‘wow, this guy is going to be great’. In 2018, he maintained these numbers, slightly increasing his minutes per game and scoring a point more (16.9), along with 8.8 boards per game and 7.7 assists.

Now, in 2019, he is scoring just 13.7 points per game and averaging just six rebounds, along with 7.1 assists.

Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers
Photo: NBA

So, two rebounds per game less than his rookie year, a full assist less and over two points less. Maybe we create hype around players that we should not, but, honestly, a rookie should get better, not worse, in the following seasons, so I’m not sure what to think about this.

He is a good player, he does add value to the Sixers, especially given his defensive improvement. But, did Ben Simmons really hit his ceiling as a rookie? Or is he just not being utilized correctly?

When you watch the games, it seems like he spends a lot of time just kind of drifting the floor on offense, with no real purpose. But, is this Brett Brown’s fault or Simmons’ one? This I do not know.

But, I am sure of one thing: The 76ers need better production out of Ben Simmons. Whether that means they need to adjust their offensive scheme to utilize him better or he needs to shake off the mental gremlins and actually become the player we expected, something has got to give.