As of today, Shams Charania of the Athletic reported that John Wall and the Houston Rockets are working out a better situation for him. Sources say he will be present for training camp and games but will not participate in those events. The Rockets are giving up the keys to the kingdom for a Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green backcourt, which makes sense.
There was no fit for Wall in the Rockets’ rebuild. Honestly, Wall’s purpose is better on a contending team like the Philadelphia 76ers, as he would become better scorer than Ben Simmons. A buyout is still possible, but trying to figure out a single or three-team trade becomes a better situation. This Rockets’ roster is loaded, so the front office would have to waive players for better acquisitions, something they’d be willing to do for the right piece. Simmons would make the Rockets a playoff-contending team. While a scoring PG like Wall could be just what the 76ers need.
Offsetting Simmons’ inability to shoot the ball, he’ll have multiple players on the Rockets who are playmakers or who can provide the needed shots throughout the game. Obviously, Simmons didn’t have the best performance in the playoffs last season because of his shooting. In three-years total, the three-time All-Star is shooting 57 percent from the field in the postseason. Although Simmons has only shot the ball once from three, he still provides playmaking and post moves with the basketball at 6’10”.
ESPN analyst Stephan A. Smith always says, “Ben Simmons is a jump shot away from becoming LeBron James”. Simmons still has the necessary upside of an NBA superstar but needs the right direction. Stephan Silas and John Lucas would provide the necessary tools of development, as they already are known for building players. Hopefully, the Rockets’ coaching staff could boost the confidence of Simmons shooting the basketball.
Simmons can put the ball on the ground and score off drives and physical strength. He takes advantage of little defenders when guarded by them. And he always looks for cracks in opposing team defenses for easy dunks and layups.
Another accolade Simmons does so well is cut to the basket. His cutting skills and being able to play off the basketball have helped his offensive skill set. That is another reason why he would thrive next to Porter. Simmons is the best in the NBA on being a knack inside the paint. He shot 65 percent inside the restricted area and 40.4 percent outside the restricted area in the paint per NBA stats.
Simmons would be a blossoming fit next to Porter and Green, as that trio would become a scary presence in the NBA. Silas would find a way for Porter and Simmons to share the basketball amongst each other. Simmons usage percentage has never gone over 21 percent while playing for the 76ers. Sharing the basketball is Simmons specialty, he has a career average of 7.5 assists. His assist ratio has always been over 30 percent, which allowed his teammates to feed off Simmons. He will be able to find Christian Wood for lob actions and put Green in great scoring positions on the court. He will have the ability to slow the game down for the Rockets.
Simmons would provide the ability to play great defense and lock down an opposing team’s best player, as he led the NBA in steals in 2019-2020 and made the All-NBA Defensive team twice. He had a career average of a 105 defensive rating, and he brings a great impact because of his wingspan and defensive IQ. Simmons ranked in the 97.4 percentile in pick-and-roll defense (2020-2021) per NBA stats, which is outrageously good.
The Rockets would have to give up draft capital to appease Daryl Morey. It is worth giving up some picks to receive Matisse Thybulle and Simmons from the 76ers because of the upside. But Wall + picks for Simmons and Thybulle works from a salary standpoint. How many picks would need to be attached though? Houston has plenty to offer, but would it be enough? How would Morey feel about the optics? How about Tilman Fertitta? Questions abound, though hopefully a solution is done shortly, as Wall needs a home.