It's no secret that the Boston Celtics need a genuine facilitator on their roster, especially one that can pressure the rim and play lockdown defense on the perimeter. Ben Simmons certainly fits that bill, and would accentuate the talents of Jayson Tatum, but there's no denying that. But if the price of doing business is Jaylen Brown, Brad Stevens would be wise to hang up the phone immediately.
Comparing players who operate in different positions, with totally different roles, is a fools errand. But we can still explore why adding Ben Simmons at the expense of Jaylen Brown is a ridiculous notion.
To begin with, Jaylen Brown is a three level scorer who has shown a linear development path since entering the NBA. From improving his left-hand dribble, to becoming a fearsome scorer off the dribble, whatever weaknesses Jaylen Brown finds in his game, he resolves them during the off-season. Ben Simmons, on the other hand? One would be hard pressed to point out any specific developments he's made since entering the league. Perhaps Simmons is a marginally better defender than his rookie year? Maybe he's become a better distributor?
Regardless, those improvements are on the margins and show no sign of adding new facets to his game - so why give up an ever-improving wing for a stale point-guard come power forward? The Boston Celtics are unlikely to weaken their future potential for immediate gratification.
Herein lies the Philadelphia 76ers problem. Ben Simmons' value around the league has never been lower. From passing up an open dunk in the playoffs to sitting out the preseason, and now refusing to play ball with the teams medical staff, there's very few teams willing to roll the dice there. So, setting the bar at Jaylen Brown in any form of trade discussion is a ludicrous notion, one that will make most interested parties recoil.
When you think of a Ben Simmons trade, it's fair to see star returns, despite the current abstinence of interest, yet a more realistic outcome is a trade similar to what saw Russell Westbrook head to the Los Angeles Lakers during the summer - a trade centered around cost-controlled veterans with a high-upside young player as the kicker. Unfortunately, the Boston Celtics do not have a high-upside young player with the requisite trade value. Masslive's Brian Robb reported when looking at realistic trade packages for the Boston Celtics, saying:
"Ultimately, the only path that makes plausible sense for both sides in a deal where Simmons goes to Boston would be a third team getting involved. The Celtics send multiple players and first-round picks to Team X, Team X sends the Sixers player(s) that are appealing and the Celtics land Simmons. The odds of that scenario coming to fruition given Boston’s limited assets seems unlikely however given the high asking price Philly is holding out for."
Ben Simmons joining the Boston Celtics along with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum is the dream
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both developing as playmakers, but that's still a work in progress and will continue to be for the coming months and years. After all, neither Jaylen Brown nor Jayson Tatum have ever been asked to create for others at the rate the Boston Celtics require them to.
That's where Ben Simmons comes in, a phenomenal passer, penetrator, and shot creator who could instantly improve the Boston Celtics on both sides of the floor. Ben Simmons' ability to pressure the rim, both in the half-court and transition, would fit directly into Ime Udoka's brand of offense, while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown would both benefit from playing alongside a passer of Ben Simmons quality.
In truth, Ben Simmons would be the best passer the Boston Celtics have had since Rajon Rondo, and would allow Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to punish teams off the catch, or the rip-through, while not sacrificing their offense for defense. Unfortunately, as Brian Robb pointed out in his article, there's no realistic way to achieve this rotation, as Jaylen Brown is the best trade chip the Boston Celtics have, as much as Celtics fans hate to admit it.
For now, a Ben Simmons trade remains a pipe dream - both for the Philadelphia 76ers and any interested party, because valuations are miles apart. But under no circumstances should the Boston Celtics part with Jaylen Brown for anyone outside of a top-10 talent in the NBA.