Tampering and Magic Johnson have been stuck like glue to one another considering what had happened with the Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo and now, Ben Simmons. The league is looking into whether or not there had been any contact between Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers to see if they violated NBA rules. At the urging of Simmon’s brothers, an affiliated Philadelphia 76er’ staff member contacted Lakers’ general manager, Rob Pelinka, in hopes that the Hall of Fame point guard, Magic Johnson, could mentor Simmons. The two possess relatively the same skill set standing at 6’9 playing the point guard spot. The Philadelphia 76ers general manager, Elton Brand, denied the the authorization for Johnson to talk to Simmons and spoke to Johnson later in the day to clear the air surrounding the relationship between Simmons and Johnson. Although Simmons is expected to stay with the Sixers for the long-term, let’s imagine what would happen if Ben Simmons were to leave the Sixers and head to the city of stars to train under Magic Johnson. What if Ben Simmons joined the Los Angeles Lakers?
If Ben Simmons were with the Lakers, he would benefit from two highly-respected mentors in Magic Johnson and Lebron James. All three of these players have games that mirror one another and the latter two have experienced success at the highest level. Simmons would be able to learn even more about the game of basketball and develop his skill set to new heights as he heeds advice from a current Hall of Famer and a future Hall of Famer. In fact, Ben Simmons has already worked out with James this past summer, so the two would grow even closer with James taking Simmons under his wing. Asides from the mentorship aspect, the Lakers will be receiving a young all-star in Simmons who could replace Rajon Rondo, who they would ultimately lose in free agency after this season. Simmons would practically give the Lakers another “Lebron James” and if they surround the two with shooters, the ball movement on the offensive end would reach new heights. We already saw how the Lonzo Ball affected the ball movement on the court with his awareness, but if we replace him with Simmons the Lakers will have a legitimate scoring threat as well only if we ignore his horrendous refusal to shoot from beyond the arc. Just take a look at the clip below of LeBron James exposing his young protegee on the court.
Simmons will push the Lakers into championship contenders and give them the opportunity to duke it out at the top of the Western Conference standings. The Lakers will also have more coverage at the guard position besides Ball and have leeway to improve their young core of players.
However, not all is as it seems. If Simmons were to join the Lakers, this would place Lonzo Ball on the sidelines and the Lakers would most likely deal away another potential All-Star once again. Another concern is the fact that can two “LeBron James” players coexist on the basketball court? With James, players have been known to notoriously turn into spot up shooters and what can stop Simmons from morphing into one as well even though he can hardly shoot the ball at all. Ball was placed in this scenario and his play suffered because of it. Chemistry stands as the sole deterministic factor that will decide whether or not the Lakers sink or swim if they add Simmons. With the addition of Simmons, the Lakers will also be adding another player who can’t shoot free throws (Los Angeles seems obsessed with players who can’t make a freebie). This will the Lakers down the stretch especially when comes playoff time.
Overall, if Ben Simmons were to join the Los Angeles Lakers, the good outweighs the negatives as Los Angeles will once again climb the Western Conference rankings as they had done earlier this season before James had gone down with an injury. Ben Simmons can push and facilitate the offense while covering the other team’s best players while he continues to grow into a superstar in the league.