Once the draft was complete and free agency started winding down, many thought the only Houston Rockets news they would see would be players training. However, after the last off-season, we should have known that there is no offseason, especially for the Rockets.
First, the news that John Wall would not be part of the rotation in the future and that both sides are working on a trade. The latest report does not directly mention the Rockets but could eventually merge with the Wall news.
Ben Simmons reportedly has told the Philadelphia 76ers he will not report to training camp and does not plan on playing for the team at any point this year. With this news coming out, speculation has grown even more, and the Rockets are right in the middle of that speculation.
We all remember Simmons's flameout during the 76er's seven-game loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Simmons's statistics plummeted during the playoffs from points per game to assists and field goal percentage. A lot has been made about why this happened, from his fit with the team and the distrust between coaches and his teammates.
The question now is how he can turn the tide and get back to being an All-Star type player? Here is how he could change his game and how that could fit in with the Rockets.
Another report came out that Simmons has stated he wants to be the team's focal point and continue to run the point guard position. That would be a mistake for Simmons. Until(if!) he develops some outside shot, teams will continue to sag in the paint when he has the ball at the top of the key, which wreaks an offense.
If Simmons is willing to move to power forward and be closer to the dunker spot, he could thrive with players like Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green drawing in the defense and leading him to easy dunks. But, unfortunately, Simmons was at 98.3 when it came to the frequency of two-point shots taken compared to three-pointers. That means he rarely (rarely is an understatement) shoots outside of the paint.
Changing to power forward would take the pressure off him at the top of the key, having to drive past a defender who is waiting for him in the paint, not respecting his outside shot.
This is the type of plays Simmons could regularly have. Feeding off the gravity provided from pick-and-rolls by Porter Jr. and Green.
A more athletic version of Draymond Green
You hear the name Draymond Green in Houston, and visions of illegal screens and eye pokes dance in your head. Yet, despite all of that, Green is one of the most versatile power forward still in the league.
Simmons could thrive in that mold. Even though he wouldn't be the primary ball-handler, he could excel as a secondary ball-handler. Specifically on fast breaks or once a play breaks down in the half-court. While being guarded by a bigger power forward, Simmons's pick-and-roll would be lethal in the half-court.
Simmons has the same skill set as Green but is more athletic and taller ( just without the all-time great shooters around him) and would thrive on a team with more ball movement and a center who does not have to be in the paint. Playing next to Wood would give him that space. Yes, Embiid can stretch the floor, but his primary place is in the paint.
A trade may not involve Simmons and the Rockets, but if it does, it could open up the game for the Rockets and Simmons, but only if he is willing to let go of his point guard dreams