With the sudden surge of talent overtaking the Sixers roster now, it’s easy for the public to to get lost in the latest addition to the team each time someone is added.
Over the past few seasons, the team has added Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz, and J.J. Redick as the stars on the team and fans are ready for this core to led the team to its first playoff berth since 2012.
While the team as a whole has basketball fans in general excited to see how well they perform, one player seems to not be receiving the recognition and hype he deserves: Ben Simmons.
As the biggest prospect to play at LSU since Shaquille O’Neal, the Australian-born first team All-American was the center of attention at the school. With national attention towards him every game of the season, he averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game in his only season playing college ball. Leading up to the NBA Draft that season, he was seen as the consensus No. 1 pick from nearly every scout in the country. He was drawing many comparisons to Lebron James in his playing style and skill set, and was also said to have the passing ability similar to the great Magic Johnson.
Here’s a scouting report from hoopshabit.com detailing his abilities:
Simmons never looked out of place with the ball in his hands, as he always looked for the best shot available, whether it came from him or one of his teammates. His IQ and physical nature are two dominant traits for any professional superstar and it’s great to see him already have those in his arsenal. He is adept at handling the ball, scoring and rebounding. There’s also no reason he can’t have an impact defensively at either forward spot given his athletic build.
But the biggest area where he must improve his game on the court is his jump shooting.
Simmons lived around the rim in college, taking 54.4 percent of his shots from close range, per Hoop-Math.com. He also took a lot of mid-range shots, but only converted on 32.9 percent of those looks. All season long, he only attempted three shots from behind the three-point line and converted on one of them.
I’m not saying Simmons is the next Lebron, but he definitely has the skill set available to be the next best thing in the NBA. He’s been seen training and hanging out with Lebron over the past year during his recovery from his foot fracture, so there will absolutely be similarities in their playing styles that we will be able to notice.
Even though he hasn’t played an NBA regular season game yet, why is he not getting the same notoriety that it seems that Fultz, or even other rookies around the league, are receiving?
According to Bovada, Simmons has the third best odds to win Rookie of the Year, behind Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith, and tied with Jayson Tatum. I believe Simmons is clearly the best player from that list and he should have the most productive season out of all the rookies in consideration for the award. I expect him to be even better than anticipated coming out of the draft since he had a whole year to train during his recovery, and work on his jump shot as well.
Think of Embiid’s situation a year ago. While he was at Kansas, he was strictly a post player playing around the rim. During his almost two-year recovery from injury, he used that time to gain a great shooting ability, from both mid-range and behind the three point line, and really just became one of best and most talented big men in the league. Simmons has already said he feels that he is currently in the best shape of his life, which is amazing to hear.
Simmons will not only be one of the top rookies on the court this season, but one of the best overall players out there as well. With his ability to score, rebound, pass, and defend, he is the swiss army knife that will cause mismatches for anyone who plays against him. Let me remind you that he will essentially be a 7’ point guard also, which obviously will cause problems for any other point guard standing in front of him.
Hopefully not getting the attention he is worthy of will drive Simmons into another gear to prove to the basketball world that is a major force in the league now, and for many years to come.
“Photo: Bleacher Report”