What NBA GMs think of Sixers, Simmons ahead of season originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
How is Ben Simmons perceived outside of Philadelphia?
It's a question that's become more pertinent over the last few months. And, though a casual Cavs or Clippers fan's thoughts on Simmons don't matter a ton in the big picture, how NBA executives view Simmons is obviously significant in light of his trade request and holdout.
In partnership with NBC Sports Philadelphia
NBA.com's John Schuhmann's annual survey of all 30 NBA GMs provides some insight.
Simmons received seven percent of the vote for best defensive player in the league and 17 percent for best perimeter defender. And, with 27 percent of the vote, he came second to the Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo for most versatile defender.
Outside of those defensive categories, there's not much Simmons. He was among those "also receiving votes" for most athletic. Simmons did not get any votes for "fastest with the ball" despite ample evidence that he's exceptionally speedy; the Kings' De'Aaron Fox topped that question, and former Sixer Ish Smith ranked fourth.
Even if he was back on the floor and the memories of his disappointing second-round series last year against the Hawks were a little less fresh, Simmons would be an especially difficult player for GMs to evaluate. The offseason drama and lack of recent on-court activity has perhaps skewed opinion on him a bit, however, after a season in which he was Defensive Player of the Year runner-up.
Joe Embiid came in fourth (seven percent) for an MVP prediction, and second for best center (23 percent) behind Nikola Jokic.
The Sixers ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference, behind the Nets, Bucks and Heat. A third of GMs picked them to finish third in the conference. They were the East's No. 1 seed last season after coming in fifth in NBA.com's survey.
You can read this year's full survey here.