Brian Windhorst lists 3 reasons why he’d take Ben Simmons over Russell Westbrook

Jonathan Sherman
4 Min Read

Without a doubt, two NBA stars that have experienced incredible falls from grace over the last year are Los Angeles Lakers star Russell Westbrook and Brooklyn Nets star Ben Simmons.

Westbrook joined the Lakers last summer and was expected to be the third star in a Big 3 alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. As Lakers fans know well, Westbrook did not play as advertised and was often seen as a detriment to the team’s success.

That’s a big reason why the Lakers have seemingly been trying to trade Westbrook since the very start of the 2022 NBA offseason.

As for Simmons, he sat out the entire 2021-22 season despite the fact that there was some belief that he could have played at certain points during the season, including the playoffs.

While Simmons hasn’t donned an NBA uniform since the 2021 NBA Playoffs, NBA insider Brian Windhorst recently stated that he’d rather have Simmons than Westbrook on a roster.

“But if you’re asking me who I’d rather have, I’d rather have Ben Simmons,” he said of choosing between Simmons and Westbrook. “Number one, he’s younger. Number two, he’s bigger. Number three, he defends, and I need a high-level defender to win at the highest level.”

Despite the fact that Simmons has been a no-show for over a year, it’s hard to argue against Windhorst’s logic. At his best, Simmons has looked like a generational player. His abilities to handle the ball, run the floor and score near the basket are all elite. The same can be said for his defensive capabilities.

In his case, the biggest concerns seem to be his inability to score far away from the basket as well as the mental component of the game. Still, he is only 26 years old, and it is likely that a positive season from him in the upcoming campaign would change a lot of minds.

As for Westbrook, he too struggles with shooting far away from the basket. That issue certainly hampered his Lakers team last season.

However, the biggest issues that Westbrook is facing right now may be his stubbornness and inability to accept the fact that he no longer has what it takes to be the focal point of an NBA team. That is especially true on the Lakers, as he is playing alongside two of the most gifted players in the league in James and Davis.

Though his numbers were solid last season, averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game, many considered those to be empty numbers because they so rarely contributed to winning.

So, while Windhorst’s conclusion may be a tough one for Lakers fans to swallow, it’s also hard to argue against. It will be interesting to see if general sentiments regarding either player change in the upcoming season.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.