Will Ben Simmons actually play point guard? It’s the question that every process truster and sixers lover has been wondering. Both Simmons himself and Brett Brown have made it clear that we will see lineups with the Aussie prodigy at the point, but will that develop into a permanent starting role? Obviously he isn’t a stereotypical point guard with his 7’ (SEVEN FEET!), 240 lbs frame, but larger ball handlers and non-traditional play styles are becoming very common in today’s NBA. The most obvious example is a pretty good ball player named Lebron James. In fact Simmons’s play style draws clear comparison to Lebron’s game. They both are built huge like forwards, but they have the skills and basketball IQ of a guard. Lebron has dominated the league as a point forward for years, and if the stars align that could be a look at the future of the Sixers with Simmons. Brett Brown actually intends to take it farther and implement Simmons as a true point guard, not a point forward like Lebron. This unusual situation can be confusing, and it begs the question, will this actually benefit the sixers? The answer is yes. So much yes.
The most talked about aspect of this situation is the matchups. Let’s quickly toss the speculation that Simmons will guard point guards and they will guard him. We unfortunately won’t be seeing an Isaiah Thomas/Ben Simmons matchup anytime soon although it would be hilarious. That being said he will disrupt any normal defensive strategy, as he demands a defender who can physically match him and/or keep up with his speed and ball handling, and these players that will be capable of this will not be accustomed to gaurding point guards. Essentially his presence demands any team to play on the Sixers’s terms, and once whatever poor soul gets sent out to match up against Benny, he can adjust his play style accordingly to attack their weaknesses. If he has a smaller, quicker defender he can use his size and power, and if he has a bigger, stronger defender he can slash and beat them with his ball handling. That is not to say that there is no one in the league who can match up with him. There will be defenders that will be able to match up well with him, but it is safe to assume that his presence will disrupt any typical gameplan that any opponents might have. This will take pressure off his other teammates and create easy scoring opportunities.
As beneficial as this will be to the team, it will truly be best for Simmons himself. As I said earlier, despite his size Simmons is a natural point guard on offense. On defense though he will be able able to use his size and strength to guard centers and power forwards. There is clearly superstar potential within him, and this rare situation will allow him to be the best he can be and affect the game in every way possible. Just think about how his unique role will impact his potential stat lines. On defense he has the physical tools to be a great rebounder and shot blocker. At the bare minimum his presence will easily be able to affect any shot attempt taken near the rim, especially if his buddy JoJo is right there next to him. Also his length matched with his speed should allow him an opportunity to rack up some steals on top of this. Then on offense his court vision and skills will allow him to set up teammates in good scoring position often and tally up assists. This will be even further supplemented by his ability to grab a rebound on defense and quickly run the floor to set up fast break buckets.
Scoring is the only aspect of his game on paper that is still unsure. While his ball handling, speed, and silky soft touch inside combine to make him a fantastic slasher, his jump shot is a liability as of now. He has been able to thrive his whole career relying on the rest of his elite level abilities, but to truly become a star he will need to develop a consistent jumper. One of the few silver linings of his injury was that he was able to spend the whole season correcting his awkward jumper. There have been many videos showcasing his much improved jumper at workouts, and as the totally rationally sixers fan I am, I am going to assume that he is going to also be an elite jump shooter. At the very least it seems as though he will be able to keep his defenders honest with an outside threat albeit inconsistent, but I am confident he will eventually be able to develop his jumper much further.
With everything falling perfectly in place for this team, Ben Simmons is set up to take the league by storm, and to do it as a point guard. Every fan should embrace this unusual situation and be excited for what is going to be an extremely entertaining Sixers season. With a very unsure Eastern Conference the Sixers are poised to make some noise. As a fanbase we have seen the lowest of the lows, but our patience has finally been rewarded. We have the electric Joel Embid, The silky smooth Markelle Fultz, The deadshot JJ Reddick, The Croation Sensation Dario Saric, and maybe the most important of them all, The Aussie Ben Simmons, point guard extraordinaire.