Hey everybody, this is Jack Martin aka Jack Sparkin' aka Jack the Martian aka The Flow. Ralph wanted me to let everyone know that I'm taking over for him because he's "an international PAWG Hunter of the 20th century without cellular connection." While he's off trekking international waters for the PAWG of his dreams, I'll fill out this series with some thoughts of my own. With that being said, here's the Substance Report.
To all of the loyal The Fro and The Flow podcast fans out there, I'm sure you're aware that Jack Martin and I have a nearly-weekly segment titled Watch The Throne (Yes, the segment is inspired by the greatest collaboration of all-time, Watch The Throne, by Jay-Z and Kanye West).
During this podcast segment, Jack Sparkin' and I break down the most talented basketball players in the world at that current moment by ranking them 1-15 (Think of it like this: If you were to start an NBA team today from scratch, zilch, nada, who would be the first player that you'd choose to help you win if they were all available?).
Because Jack and I are so dedicated to watching, observing, and sucking however much milk we can out of the NBA's utter, and are also two separate human beings, we have some disagreements every so often.
This daily column over the next 26 days will be relatively similar to that segment. The biggest, and most important difference is that this cluster fuck of a ranking will be an attempt towards breaking down the most valuable players in the NBA in accordance with how vital they are to their team's success (say, if you took Stephen Curry off of the Golden State Warriors, would they still be able to win a championship this season? Or if you took Giannis off of the Bucks would they win 45 games? And other hypothetical things of that nature).
24. Ben "Kendall Jenner's Bae/Fresh Prince" Simmons
Jack: I don't know Ralph's thoughts on Ben Simmons, but I'm not a fan (yet). He's obviously dominant in his own right and can routinely perform highlight plays, I just don't know how committed to developing a jumper he is (I really don't know, I've never asked him. He could be super committed for all I know). There's constant talk from him and Joel Embiid (aka Shaq 2.0) about bringing a championship back to Philly but it's not going to happen unless Simmons can hit a wide-open 18-footer when left abandoned by every defender. Do Simmons and Embiid like each other? It's so hard to get a read. They both love dating models and winning basketball games so it feels like a match made in heaven, it's just so hard to get a read on them.
When Simmons made his debut last year he kind of took the NBA by storm. People were enamored by the fact that he could be the next Magic Johnson or, dare some say, LeBron. The way he could take over a game with his playmaking ability and will to get to the rim alongside a healthy Embiid was incredibly fun to watch and they expedited "The Process" faster than anyone could've guessed. The Rookie of the Year battle between Simmons and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell took social media by storm at the end of last season, and even though I think Mitchell should've walked away with the trophy, Simmons took it and rightfully so.
Simmons, who made his first All-Star appearance this year, has had a quieter sophomore season. Drama surrounding the Lakers, Celtics, and Warriors (honestly the whole league, the NBA is the best soap opera on TV) drowned out talk of a lot of players and teams, and since Simmons hasn't necessarily improved that much, people have chosen to focus on other things. His stat line of 17 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 7.8 assists on 56.4% shooting is great, but he could be scoring a few more points. If Simmons could just capitalize on open jump shot opportunities, he'd be so, so dangerous. It's just frustrating.
The Sixers have the pieces to compete right now, they just need all of them to click. Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid are a core four if I've ever seen one and if they can shake off their lack of depth and stay healthy, the Sixers could easily find themselves competing in the Finals in June.
Ben. Dude. Get a jumper. You'd be so much more fun to watch. But hey, if I was dating Kendall Jenner, I'd probably be pretty distracted too.