James Harden trade: 8 players the Houston Rockets could get

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /
8 of 9
Houston Rockets
Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers defends James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets players to target in James Harden trade: 2. Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons certainly doesn’t have an identical skillset to Harden, as Simmons has neither the ability to hit a jumpshot or the confidence to take them, which has many Rockets fans unhappy with the possibility of acquiring him. Simmons’ inability to shoot has caused many of his other skills to be overlooked, and caused many to forget about the fact that the 6-foot-10 facilitator has been named to two All-Star teams and made both the All-Defensive team and All-NBA team in 2019-20.

Although Simmons isn’t exactly a shooter, he can still score, as he averaged 16.9 points in 2018-19 and 16.4 points in 2019-20. Simmons could also help the Rockets in the rebounding department, as he averaged 8.8 rebounds in 2018-19 and 7.8 rebounds in 2019-20, which would be a tremendous boost to a Rockets team that ranks 26th in rebounds with 42.4 boards per game.

Simmons also finished sixth in assists in each of the last two seasons and would thrive in the offensive system that Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas has employed with the Rockets, which involves heavy ball movement. Harden has struggled in this approach, as he’s been more of an isolation player, which Silas and the Rockets have tried to deviate away from this season.

On the opposite end of the floor, Simmons is a stellar defender, as he has the size to defend every position on the floor and has the potential to be a Defensive Player of the Year finalist. The latest on the Simmons front is that Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey doesn’t want to ship him away, but if there’s anyone that would trade a ransom for Harden, it’s Morey, who has easily been one of Harden’s biggest fans in the league.

Morey has also shown a lack of concern about draft picks, which would give the Rockets an opportunity to replenish the picks that he gave away when he ran the Rockets’ front office. Many in the national media believe Harden will be dealt to Philadelphia, in part because Simmons meets the definition of what the Rockets are asking for, which is a young franchise cornerstone.

Next: No. 1